BEVERLY - In 2014, a viral social media challenge took the world by storm like no other trend has before. Planking, Tebowing, doing the Harlem Shake. Each of these activities paled in comparison to the windswept popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Essentially, what this challenge called upon people to do during that summer was to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, share the video online, and then tag three of their friends to do it, as well. It got passed around many communities, eventually leading to mega-popularity from celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Chris Pratt, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tom Cruise taking part in it.
But this trend was better than most social media challenges because every time someone would partake in it, they would also be encouraged to donate to research into ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. This ended up becoming a massive source of awareness for the disease that led to a lot of progress. Over 10 billion views of ice bucket challenges were recorded and it led to $225 million raised. And it was all thanks to Pete Frates.
Frates was the captain of the baseball team at Boston College back in 2007 where his talent eventually led him to be able to play in the German Baseball League. In 2012, though, Frates was diagnosed with ALS. His wife, Julie, and his daughter, Lucy, remarked that Pete became a role model for all people, not just baseball players or people who were diagnosed with ALS. Always the upbeat and positive one, Frates became a beloved member of the Boston community.
Sadly, he passed away yesterday at the age of 34 after his battle with ALS, as confirmed by the Boston Globe. In a statement from his family, they wrote, "He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others." Complicated feelings come from this. On the one hand, it is devastating to lose a light in the community like Pete. On the other hand, he lived a beautiful life. And that should always be celebrated.
All in Massachusetts and all around the world will miss Pete. But the impact he left on everyone and everything will not be forgotten.
Image Via Petefrates.com