Westport family raises awareness for ALS with #ALSPepperChallenge

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WESTPORT -

A family from Westport is raising awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease through a challenge that has already become a viral sensation.

The “Pepper Challenge” coined by the Haberstroh family is a spin on the Ice Bucket Challenge, with all donations going toward finding a cure for ALS. Participants must either film themselves eating a hot pepper or donate money to an ALS charity.

"ALS is not an incurable disease, it's just underfunded," said Steve Haberstroh. "And because there's only 20,000 people in this country who have been affected currently, the big pharmaceutical companies haven't spent a lot of money and research to find a cure."

The Haberstroh family tells News 12 Connecticut that they started the pepper challenge on Christmas in honor of their mother Patty, who was recently diagnosed with the disease, along with all others who are affected.

They say the challenge has reached as far as Brazil, Australia and Japan.

Participants of the challenge are encouraged to post their videos with "#ALSPepperChallenge."

The family’s goal is to raise $50,000, but they say they are prepared to increase the goal to $1 million if the challenge gains enough traction.

"We don’t want or need credit for [the challenge,]” said Chuck Haberstroh. “We just want to find a cure."

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