In college Pete Frates was an all-star athlete, becoming the captain of Boston College’s baseball team and hitting a monster home run in Fenway Park in his final year. A few years later, on March 13th 2012, Pete was diagnosed with ALS.
Almost immediately after hearing the diagnosis Pete took the news as a challenge, asking his doctor “how much money do you need to cure this thing?” After hearing “one billion dollars”, Pete’s immediate response was- “I will get you a billion dollars.”
After watching his friends do silly challenges on social media, he and others affected by ALS came up with a simple idea – dumping ice water on yourself and encouraging friends to do the same to raise money for ALS. Although ALS was a relatively unknown disease, Pete had quite the network of friends – including athletes with large social media followings. Soon the Ice Bucket Challenge spread like wildfire. In the weeks and months after, celebrities like Lebron James, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates joined in, all to raise awareness and funds for ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge raised a staggering $220 million for ALS nonprofits, putting him well on his way towards raising one billion dollars.
It’s been 7 years since Pete’s diagnosis, and in the years since he’s continued to champion for those with ALS. His family said it best: “He was a beacon of hope for all.”
Pete passed away on December 9, 2019 at the age of 34, but his legacy will live on as a hero for people living with ALS. Thank you Pete and the Frates family for everything you’ve done to progress ALS research and bring us closer to a cure.