Pete Frates a former US college baseball player and the inspiration behind the ice bucket challenge, died at the age of 34 on Monday. The ice bucket challenge had taken social media by storm in 2014. The one-time college athlete struggled with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
"Pete passed away surrounded by his loving family, peacefully at age 34, after a heroic battle with ALS," said his family in a statement. Pete's struggle with ALS had brought together millions to raise awareness of the disease.
Pete Frates played in the German Baseball League
Frates grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts, as an honour roll student and a school leader. He was passionate about sports and was a four-year member of the football, hockey and baseball teams. At Boston College, Frates was a major in history and communications and had been passionate about baseball. He became the football captain in his senior year. After college, he went on to play baseball with the German Baseball League.
The campaign that raised $220 million with celebrities and various personalities from around the globe is a part of the challenge that went towards the research for ALS. Frates was diagnosed with the neurogenerative disease in 2012, at the age of 27.
Frates and his fight against ALS
Pete Frates and Pat Quinn of Yonkers inspired the ice bucket challenge. Although everyone knows the challenge and why it went viral, only a few know the man behind the challenge. Pete's family saw him fight against a devastating disease. Frates was unshakable and mobilized a global army in his fight. He was a natural leader and a role model for many.
Pete's family said that he 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.
Research towards ALS
Frates changed the game in ALS research. According to the director of the ALS Massachusetts chapter, Pete played a huge role in the research. There were multiple discoveries because of the challenge because of the increase in the funding for the research. There have been scientists from around the world doing the research. Since the challenge, the funding for the ALS clinics increased as well.