By Paul Burton

GLOUCESTER (CBS) – With courage and love, more than a thousand of Team Frate Train supporters took to the waters of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester for one final chilly plunge in honor of Pete Frates.

“The love, the generosity, outpouring of support is just absolutely remarkable,” said Pete Frates’s father John Frates.

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A large crowd gathered at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester for the final Plunge For Pete. (WBZ-TV)

The former Boston College baseball player, whose battle with ALS helped inspire the Ice Bucket Challenge, died in December after a seven-year battle with the disease.

On Saturday, his family, teammates, classmates, friends and strangers took part in the annual Plunge for Pete.

“Of course, he was defined by ALS, but he had 25 percent of his life, but he, more importantly, defined ALS, so what we’re doing is recapturing all of his vitality,” said.

David Preziosi, a former teammate, attended the event. “It speaks volumes to who Pete is and how amazing a person he is and how many people’s lives he touched.”

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Pete Frates’s wife, Julie, took her very first plunge in honor of her late husband. “I got the perspective of everyone else running in after me, and that’s overwhelming.”

Julie Frates participated in the final Plunge For Pete on Saturday (WBZ-TV)

This final Pete’s Plunge is taking place on what would have been Pete Frates’s 35th birthday. The family said this support is critical in helping to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs.

“We don’t want Julie and Lucy to be saddled with long outstanding debt, so we are doing everything in our power to get this resolved,” John Frates said.

“I don’t know how I would get up every day if I didn’t have it” said Julie Frates. “These are the people who are gonna pick me up for years to come.”

As for Pete Frates’s mother, Nancy Frates, she said his son is now free.

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“I have not seen my son speak, I haven’t seen him walk for six years. And in the last two weeks, he’s been running and walking and smiling and talking to me and showing me in so many beautiful ways that he’s happy and he’s free.”

Paul Burton