YouTube celebrity launches fundraising challenge for Utrecht ALS patient

Garmt van Soest
Garmt van Soest. (Photo: Screenshot / YouTube)

American YouTube celebrity Andrew Rea, known for his online cooking channel Binging with Babish, launched a fundraising challenge in honor of Garmt van Soest from Utrecht, who recently passed away from the consequences of ALS. The goal of the Hot Pepper Challenge is to raise as much funds and awareness as possible for the fatal disease.

Garmt van Soest passed away on October 23rd. He was a successful entrepreneur, who was well known throughout the Netherlands for the ALS investment fund he started as well as for the blog he wrote about living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. His blogs were recently bundled into a book titled ALSandtoch, according to RTL Nieuws.

Van Soest reached out to Rea shortly after he launched his YouTube channel and the two became friends through frequent correspondence. "He messaged me on Friday to say goodbye - I openly wept in the airport TGI Friday's, asked him if there was anything I could do, if I could come visit before he left us - he wanted to spend his last few days with his loving family. He only wanted to tell me "thank you one last time for the joy of cooking you shared with me and the world...and I'm pissed that I got no credit in your book! :D". Even at the end, he could crack a joke. Garmt inspired and continues to inspire people all over the globe", Rea wrote in the description of the video he posted on Monday, in which he launched - and participated in - the Hot Pepper Challenge to raise funds and awareness for ALS, and to spread Garmt's message of warmth, strength and positivity. 

The challenge works on similar principles as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of a few years ago, which Garmt also participated in. You eat a hot pepper, and nominate three others to do the same. The hotter the pepper you eat, the less money you have to donate on the gofundme page opened for the challenge. The challenge already raised over $14 thousand, which will be donated to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.

"I hope that this will help raise funds and awareness for the ALS Association, a great organization doing important work researching the disease. Moreover, I hope that I can play a small part in helping to spread Garmt's message of strength and hope", Rea wrote.