DANVERS (CBS) — A special ceremony was held Monday night in honor of Pete Frates at St. John’s Prep School, the high school he attended in Danvers. Community members, friends, family and former classmates shared stories and honored the legacy he left behind.
Frates was laid to rest Friday after a long fight with the degenerative disease ALS. He was 34 years old when he died Dec. 9.
Pete’s parents said the memorials held over the past week have been both sad and healing, because the focus has been on their son before he got sick.
“I’ve been watching him suffer for a long time,” Nancy Frates said in an interview with WBZ-TV’s Kristina Rex. “And I haven’t heard him call my name for six years. Since this week, the memorials have been much more about reminiscing. The reminiscing that’s being done is of him before ALS.”
“None of us could’ve imagined the outpouring of love and support,” Pete’s dad John Frates said. “And I think it validates everything we were trying to do.”
Frates’ parents are showing the strength and the drive to continue their son’s mission – to find a cure for ALS.
“That’s where we are choosing to stay as a family, is to just kind of live with the joy in our heart that we had a child that not only made a difference globally but made a difference to people in his own life,” Nancy said.
After a candlelit vigil in his hometown of Beverly and a funeral mass at his Alma mater Boston College, hundreds lined up Monday at St. John’s Prep to pay their respects – all sporting his baseball number. The Frates say what keeps them going after their loss is the difference their son made for other people living with ALS.
“It’s the proudest moment. When you rack up all the accolades, and all the wonderful milestones that Pete has received over the past five years, nothing even comes in the same hemisphere as hearing an ALS patient who has decided to live with the disease,” Nancy said.
And Pete’s dad knows, because of Pete, a cure for ALS will be found.
“We were his arms, legs, and his voice that he couldn’t have,” John Frates said. “So the disease named for Lou Gehrig, is really, the cure is going to be found because of Pete Frates’ efforts.”
Pete’s parents are continuing his legacy. They are asking for donations to the Frates Family Foundation, which helps patients currently living with ALS.