ALS research is becoming spiced up with the Hot Pepper Challenge

By Lauren Wasserman ’19

Who can forget the ice bucket challenge, when American’s dumped ice on their heads to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)? Now there is a new trend: The ALS hot pepper challenge.

The ALS hot pepper challenge involves eating the hottest pepper the person can handle, filming it, posting it on social media and then donating money to ALS research. It has the same idea as the ice bucket challenge, but this time it is figuratively and literally spiced up.

The challenge is taking over the internet with celebrities like Kelly Clarkson participating and is bombarding the feeds of apps like Instagram and Facebook. After the ice bucket challenge, ALS research raised over $115 million, so people are hopeful this will do the same– or be even more successful.

The Westport Board of Education participated in the challenge as well. “The Board was challenged by First Selectman Jim Marpe to take part, and we were happy to support a great leader in Westport, Patty Haberstroh, who is living with ALS,” Michael Gordon, chairman of the Board of Education, said.

Additionally, the Staples boys’ basketball team participated in the challenge. “The team participated in the ALS Pepper Challenge with the original family who started the movement,” Max Sussman ’18 said. “Patty Haberstroh was diagnosed recently with ALS and in order to raise awareness, they came up with the pepper challenge.”

The challenge has received positive feedback, with Sussman describing his team’s participation as, “definitely a great and memorable team moment.”

Many ice bucket challenge participaters are excited to join in on the new trend. “After the ALS ice bucket challenge,” Madeline Howard ’19 said, “I would totally do the hot pepper challenge because the ice bucket challenge was so much fun and supported a great cause.”