NORWOOD (CBS) — The ALS Association is recognizing the extraordinary contribution Pete Frates made to battle Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Frates, a Beverly native and former Boston College baseball captain who helped make the Ice Bucket Challenge a national phenomenon, died from the disease on Monday.
“Our hearts go out to the Frates family and Boston community,” the organization tweeted. “Pete Frates changed the trajectory of ALS forever and showed the world how to live with a fatal disease. His efforts to lead the Ice Bucket Challenge had a significant impact on the search for treatments and a cure for ALS.”READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Pause ‘Will Not Slow Down New Hampshire,’ Gov. Sununu Says
Our hearts go out to Frates family and Boston community. @PeteFrates3 changed the trajectory of ALS forever and showed the world how to live with a fatal disease. His efforts to lead the Ice Bucket Challenge had a significant impact on the search for treatments and a cure for ALS
— The ALS Association (@alsassociation) December 9, 2019
It became a social media sensation in the summer of 2014. People challenged each other to dump a bucket of ice water over their head and donate to the cause.READ MORE: Lynn Police To Begin Wearing Body Cameras
The campaign reached worldwide levels with professional athletes, politicians and celebrities participating and donating. It has raised more than $220 million for ALS research, according to the Frates family, which has vowed to continue the challenge every August until there’s a cure.
Thanks to Ice Bucket Challenge donations, doctors in 2016 were able to isolate a gene variation that is present in many ALS patients.
“It’s a sad day in the ALS community,” said John Hedstrom, executive director of the ALS Association’s Massachusetts chapter. “Pete was an incredible person.”
He said Frates spearheaded the “largest online campaign ever” in the form of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
“We now serve over 20,000 ALS patients across the United States,” Hedstrom said. “This is all because of Pete and his drive to defeat ALS.”MORE NEWS: FDA, CDC Call For Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause To Investigate Rare Blood Clots