In 2012, when Beverly native and former Boston College baseball star Frates was 27, he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which is also known as Lou Gherig's disease. The disease progressively kills brain cells which control muscle functions causing victims to eventually lose their ability to chew, swallow and breathe. Its cause is unknown in the vast majority of cases. It currently has no cure.
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of former @BCBirdball captain Pete Frates ’07, whose heroic battle with ALS served as the inspiration for the #IceBucketChallenge, died at the age of 34.— Boston College (@BostonCollege) December 9, 2019
In Memoriam: https://t.co/09wI6Nk5OL pic.twitter.com/faTctiu1jE
Frates' battle with ALS inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge that raised millions for research and became a viral phenomenon in 2014. More than one million people all over the world, including celebrities, politicians and sports stars posted videos with themselves throwing a bucket of ice over their head, nominating others to repeat the challenge during the next 24 hours.
The Ice Bucket Challenge became a game-changer as it helped to raise awareness and money for disease research.