Korean celebrities rekindle ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ in honor of ALS hospital construction

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South Korea is witnessing a resurgence of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" in celebration of the establishment of the country's first hospital dedicated to patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Background on the challenge: The charitable initiative comes as a follow-up to the 2018 version of the challenge in South Korea, where proceeds were directed towards funding the construction of the ALS hospital in the country. Spearheading the current movement is Sean, one half of the former hip-hop duo Jinusean and CEO of the nonprofit organization Seungil Huimang Jaedan, also known as the Seungil Hope Foundation.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a global viral campaign that first emerged in 2014, gaining widespread popularity for its unique approach to raising awareness and funds for ALS charities. Participants film themselves being drenched with ice water and then nominate others to continue the challenge within 24 hours, thereby promoting both donations and the dissemination of information about the disease. Many celebrities participated, including Oprah, LeBron James, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, Taylor Swift and more.

2023 revival: Five years after the 2018 iteration of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Sean and a host of South Korean celebrities are once again embracing the campaign to commemorate the hospital's construction. Park Bo-gum from “Itaewon Class” and “Record of Youth” and soloist IU were among the first to respond to Sean's nominations, taking on the challenge and nominating others to follow suit.

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Park nominated actor Kwak Dong-yeon, Oh My Girl member Mimi and Q from the K-pop boy group The Boyz. IU nominated her fellow “Dream” actor Heo Joon-seok, Lee Joo-young, who starred with her in “Broker” and “The Glory” star Lee Do-hyun, her former castmate from “Hotel Del Luna.” Kwak participated, as did Joo-young. Do-hyun did not participate but made a donation instead.

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