ALS Ice Bucket Challenge creator Pete Frates has died, according to Boston College. He was 34.
Frates, of Beverly, Massachusetts, lived a busy life, studying communications and history at Boston College while balancing life as captain of the baseball team, WFXT reported. Baseball even took him to Europe, where he played the sport professionally.
When he was 27, Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord as it attacks muscles and makes them weaker.
The disease has no cure.
Frates decided to use the diagnosis to began advocacy and fundraising work for ALS research, and eventually came up with the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which became a viral phenomenon in 2014.
The challenge made headlines worldwide, with celebrities, politicians, sports stars and everyone in between recording themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads before nominating others to do the same in a 24-hour time period. If they didn’t comply, they were supposed to make a donation to ALS research.
The "Ice Bucket Challenge" went viral on social media, and was a game-changer for fundraising as it raised millions of dollars for ALS research and awareness.
Then “Pete’s Plunge” became another way to raise awareness and money for ALS research, with many joining the fray to show their support for the cause.
Frates turned the tragedy into inspiration as he married his wife, Julie, and welcomed a daughter, Lucy, in August 2014, WFXT reported.
"She's just such a positive light," Julie Frates said of the couple's daughter. "She keeps us going, she's the reason we do all of this."
As the disease progressed, the Frates family raised awareness about the cost of care, opening up about the $90,000-a-month bills to keep him comfortable.
“What is the cost of a life?” said Frates’ father, John Frates. “He’s contributed $250 million, he’s credited that in six weeks’ time in the largest viral sensation in mankind. Is $3,000 a day too much to ask?”
Even through the struggles, Pete Frates remained true to his roots and his mission, visiting Fenway Park each spring with the Boston College baseball team to raise ALS awareness and help others.
"As soon as this disease comes into your world, personally, there's no getting away from it," Nancy Frates said. "We're all family."
The Frates family continued its push to help, setting up the Pete Frates Family Foundation to help others who are battling ALS.
“He’s the same Pete that he was seven years ago when he sat at this kitchen table and told us we had an opportunity to change the world,” Nancy Frates said when the foundation was set up.
Pete Frates lived his life as a fighter, battling ALS for six years and fighting for the cause with everything he had. His contributions were unmatched, and captured the hearts of many throughout New England and the country.
While his battle may have ended, Pete Frates’ name, legacy and work will live on through his foundation as contributions and work toward a cure continue for years to come.