Pete Frates, inspiration behind ALS ice bucket challenge, dies at 34

Pete Frates, the creator and inspiration behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has died, according to Boston College. He was 34. 

“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,” his family said in a statement via Boston College.

Frates graduated from Boston College in May 2007. He was named director of baseball operations for Boston College baseball in March 2012. Then, in March 2012, he was diagnosed with ALS at age 27. 

“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,” the statement said. “As a result, through his determination—along with his faithful supporters, Team Frate Train—he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” 

In August 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $220 million for ALS research. 

“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,” the family said. “He was a beacon of hope for all.” 

In October 2014, the New England Council named Frates “New Englander of the Year.” He received the NCAA Inspiration of the Year Award in 2017. 

“Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency.  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,” his family said.  

“He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.” 

In June 2017, the Frates family donated the bucket used for Pete’s own Ice Bucket Challenge, along with memorabilia from his playing days at Boston College, for a display in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

“The Frates family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the abundant love, kindness, and support we have been the beneficiaries of during our journey,” the statement said. 

“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.”

The Peter Frates Family Foundation is accepting donations 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,” his family said. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.