If you enjoyed participating in the spine-tingling ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during the summer of 2014, there's a fiery sequel that's gathering steam during these cold, dark days of winter.
Called the ALS Pepper Challenge, this craze is still aimed at raising both awareness and funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a devastating motor neuron disease with no known cure.
To participate, you simply grab some hot peppers (jalapeño, cayenne, habanero, etc.), record yourself taking a bite, and then nominate someone you know to do the same thing. Along the way, everyone is encouraged to donate small amounts to ALS-related charities or research centers.
Unlike the previous challenge, you won't need a towel this time. But you may need a really large glass of milk. Just ask singer Kelly Clarkson, who recorded the below video of her searing experience eating a habanero.
Or this one with Jimmy Kimmel:
“THANKS” to @GarthBrooks & @TrishaYearwood for challenging me to the #ALSPepperChallenge! I challenge @CNN’s @JakeTapper & @WolfBlitzer!! DONATE HERE: https://t.co/x74sT5pgBD @ALSTDI @ProjectALSorg #EndALS pic.twitter.com/7gIb7PPamZ— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 1, 2018
Like the humble origins of the original Ice Bucket Challenge, which ended up raising over $115 million for the ALS Association, this latest twist on the effort was started by an individual directly impacted by ALS.
"A person is diagnosed with ALS every 90 minutes, and this past October, ALS hit our family," wrote Tom Haberstroh, a sportswriter who launched the pepper campaign in December. "Our awesome mother Patty was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) just ahead of the holidays. It's a muscle-wasting disease. There is no cure."
A video of the Haberstroh family gathered for the holidays around milk and peppers (shown below) quickly went viral. Once celebrities and newscasters got in on the fun, the donations started to blossom. As of this week, the Haberstroh fundraising page has collected more than $100,000 in charitable gifts.
Are you interested in taking on this challenge and helping support research into a cure for ALS? The first thing to do is review this list of foundations dedicated to ending this debilitating disease. The second is to choose your hot pepper. If you're someone who enjoys hot foods, you might opt to go with something rocking a lot of heat. For those who avoid spicy things, it's best to participate by eating something on the tame side. We've compiled a handy list below of some of the most popular peppers (scaled according to Scoville heat units) to pick from.
For your own safety, we recommend staying away from the Ghost Pepper, Trinidad Scorpion and the infamous Carolina Reaper.
Oh –– and don't forget the milk.