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Celebrities Are Taking The New ALS Challenge, And It's Too Hot To Handle

EOnline / TNT

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge was introduced in the summer of 2014, celebrities and regular folks have lined up to dunk ice cold water over their heads and tape their misfortune.

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It's grueling, but it's all for a good cause, since the viral challenge raises money for ALS research. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, causes your brain's motor neurons to deteriorate, leading to weakness and eventually paralysis.

The disease was little-known and badly underfunded when the challenge was introduced in 2014, and since then those viral videos have had a real impact on ALS research.

Charities have reported millions of dollars of extra donations because of the videos, and that extra funding lead to important research about the genes that cause ALS.

Of course, it helped when celebrities like Oprah, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates and Robert Downey Jr. agreed to take the challenge on camera.

Now, an ESPN anchor has introduced a new challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS, and it's even worse than having an ice bucket dumped on you.

TV host Tom Haberstroh convinced his family to eat a spicy pepper on camera for the ALS Pepper Challenge, and now celebrities are following his lead.

Haberstroh was inspired to create the Pepper Challenge after his mother Patty was diagnosed with ALS in October.

Haberstroh's mother Patty.Classy.org

The idea came to him because her nickname is "Peppermint Patty," which was shortened to Pepper.

The ESPN anchor convinced his entire family to suffer through the challenge with him, and then asked some of his famous friends to try it for themselves.

Shaquille O'Neal looked like he was about to die after eating his jalapeno pepper, but his NBA on TNT co-host Charles Barkley said it "wasn't even that hot."

Haberstroh's fellow ESPN anchors weren't brave enough to take the challenge, and chickened out with some Dr. Pepper jelly beans.

Meanwhile, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra took one for his team.

As these stars share their videos, they encourage fans to donate to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which is working to create a cure for the deadly disease.

It looks like Haberstroh's close to his $50,000 goal already. If this challenge is even a fraction of the success that the Ice Bucket Challenge was, he'll probably raise a lot more than that.

Are you brave enough to take this challenge?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com