NATIONAL– Pete Frates, the man behind the worldwide ALS fundraiser known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, passed away at the age of 34.
“Pete passed away surrounded by his loving family, peacefully at age 34, after a heroic battle with ALS,” the Frates family said in a statement on Monday, Dec 9.
The Beverly native and former Boston College baseball star was diagnosed with the progressive disease, known both as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Lou Gherig’s disease, in 2012, when he was 27.
He helped start the “Ice Bucket Challenge” two years later, and it immediately raised tens of millions of dollars for research into the disease. People from around the globe quickly caught on and not only took part in the challenge but raised hundreds of dollars by posting their videos online.
“Today, Heaven received our angel: Peter Frates. A husband to Julie, a father to Lucy, a son to John and Nancy, a brother to Andrew and Jennifer, Pete passed away surrounded by his loving family, peacefully at age 34, after a heroic battle with ALS,” the family said in a statement Monday, Dec. 9.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” had everyday people record videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice over their heads before challenging several other people to do so as well. The challenge went viral in the summer of 2014, bringing in celebrities and average people alike.
According to google, ShareExpand It made Frates a nationally renowned figure as well, being named Sports Illustrated’s “Inspiration of the Year” in 2014 and winning the NCAA Inspiration of the Year award in 2017. He was even signed to an honorary contract with the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day in 2015 — the team would go on to give Frates his own World Series ring commemorating their 2018 victory.
On Sept. 5, 2017, that day was named Pete Frates Day in Boston.
As part of the official statement from Fates’ family, they said, “A natural-born leader and the ultimate teammate. Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity. He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.
Remarkably, Pete never complained about his illness. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families. In his lifetime, he was determined to change the trajectory of a disease that had no treatment or cure. As a result, through his determination—along with his faithful supporters, Team Frate Train—he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In August of 2014, the historic movement pioneered social media fundraising and garnered donations globally that resulted in better access to ALS care, genetic discoveries, treatments, and, someday, a cure. He was a beacon of hope for all.
On behalf of Julie, Lucy, John, Nancy, Jennifer, and Andrew, along with his extended family and multitude of friends, we ask that you celebrate Pete and the hope that he has given to so many by following his daily affirmation. Be passionate, be genuine, be hardworking, and don’t ever be afraid to be great.”
ShareExpand Boston College called Frates a beloved role model who exemplified the values of “courage, integrity, selflessness, and a commitment to helping others” that the university holds dear.
“The Peter Frates Center for baseball and softball in the Harrington Athletics Village will stand as a testament to his enduring legacy. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Frates family, who have been an inspiration in their loving devotion to Pete and the cause of ALS research,” the university said in a statement.
For those who would like to extend an expression of sympathy, please consider donating to the Peter Frates Family Foundation, 21 Landers Drive, Beverly, MA 01915, or online at petefrates.com/donate. Pete’s foundation’s mission is to aid progressed ALS patients in their desire to stay at home with those who love them most.
- May 2003: Graduates from St. John’s Prep, Danvers, Mass.
- May 2007: Graduates from Boston College with a degree in communication.
- March 2012: Named director of baseball operations for Boston College baseball.
- March 2012: Diagnosed with ALS at age 27.
- June 1, 2013: Marries Julie Frates (nee Kowalik).
- August 2014: Ice Bucket Challenge raises more than $220 million for ALS research.
- August 31, 2014: Lucy Frates born.
- December 2014: Nominated along with fellow ALS warrior Pat Quinn for “Person of the Year” by Time magazine.
- 2014: Co-recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year honor.
- 2014: ESPN SportsCenter’s “Pete’s Challenge” is nominated for an Emmy (produced by Drew Gallagher BC ’99).
- March 3, 2015: BC Baseball and Boston Red Sox wear No. 3 in Pete’s honor at the annual spring training game Ft. Myers, Fla.
- April 13, 2015: Red Sox sign Pete to an honorary contract on Opening Day.
- 2016: Pete’s No. 3 jersey retired by BC Baseball & St. John’s Prep.
- 2016: St. John’s Prep baseball field dedicated as “Pete Frates ’03 Diamond”
- 2016: Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.) opens Pete Frates Hall.
- 2017: NCAA Inspiration of the Year Award.
- June 2017: Frates family donates the bucket used for Pete’s own Ice Bucket Challenge, along with memorabilia from his playing days at BC, for a display in the Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown, N.Y.).
- Sept. 5, 2017: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declares Pete Frates Day in Boston at a ceremony outside City Hall.
- Sept. 5, 2017: The Ice Bucket Challenge biography is released.
- Dec. 2018: Netflix announces production based on biography.
- June 26, 2019: Boston College announces that Phase II of the Harrington Athletics Village will be named the Pete Frates Center.
- Sept. 6, 2019: The Boston Red Sox present Pete with a custom 2018 World Series ring.
Photo credit to @TeamFrateTrain on Facebook