The all-star athlete, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, played center field for Division I Boston College. In 2014 he championed the viral Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds to find a cure for the disease.
Peter Frates, the former college baseball star who inspired and championed the viral Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds to find a cure for ALS has died. In a statement released by the Boston College, Frates' family revealed that he died peacefully surrounded by them after his long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency," read the statement. "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."
Furthermore, his family mentioned how the brave baseball icon 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," it continued.
The all-star athlete, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, played center field for Division I Boston College. He also played professional ball overseas briefly before returning to Boston where he met his lovely partner Julie, reports Good Morning America. At the age of 27, he started experiencing trouble while performing day to day tasks and after a series of tests doctors gave him the terrible news. Two years after this, Frates and two of his pals from Boston College came up with the Ice bucket Challenge to help raise awareness and money for a cure, according to Insider. Soon the challenge became a viral social media sensation, with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber taking part.
As per the ALS Association, the challenge helped raise over $200 million worldwide as people everywhere began sharing videos of them pouring a bucket of ice water on themselves. Those who performed this task, further challenged their friends to do the same in addition to urging them to make a donation to the ALS Association. The vice president of communications for the ALS Association, Brian Frederick, told NBC News that the participation of over 17 million people in the challenge resulted in 2.5 million donors for the cause.
ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease and motor neuron disease, is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells present in the brain and spinal cord, according to the ALS Association. The disease deteriorates or reduces the function of muscles over time. Due to its progressive and drastic effect on voluntary muscle, it impacts the patient's ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. Ther's no cure for the disease yet.
Even Boston College, Frates' alma mater, offered their condolences to the family through a statement. "He accepted his illness and devoted the remaining years of his life to raising awareness of ALS and helping to raise money for a cure," said the school. "He is a role model for all BC students and a beloved figure on our campus." Frates is survived by his wife, Julie, and daughter Lucy.