“Ice Bucket Challenge” Creator Dies

He created the "ice bucket challenge" to spread awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. On Monday, he lost his battle with the disease at the age of 34. This is the story of Pete Frates.

His battle with ALS inspired many

How it all started

With the Ice Bucket Challenge, he helped raise over $100 million to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ALS. Pete Frates died on December 9, 2019, at age 34. A former member of the Boston College baseball team, Pete suffered from this disease, which attacks the nerve cells which leads to paralysis and death. While he wasn’t the one who started the Ice Bucket Challenge, it was his take on it, in 2014, that made it go viral. John Frates, Pete’s father says, “Who knew all it would take is a bag of ice and a bucket, and… There is something funny about watching it all the time, over and over again.”

Repurposed Mission

Participants were challenged to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads and make a donation to fund research on ALS. Pete filmed himself with the song “Ice, Ice, Baby” playing in the background since he couldn’t lift the bucket to pour the water over his head. Thanks to this challenge, the Washington-based nonprofit ALS Association received over $115 million. Pete then redid the challenge with the Red Sox baseball team. He and his wife Julie, whom he married over a year after his diagnosis, never stopped their efforts to raise awareness about this little-known disease.

The Tradition Lives On

In 2016, the National Collegiate Athletic Association N.C.A.A. presented him with its Inspiration Award. The following year, he condemned the financial burden this disease places on families, revealing that he was paying over $70,000 per month in hospital bills. Pete never complained about his illness. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families. He passed away at home, surrounded by his family, his wife and their daughter Lucy.