According to Breitbart, Pete Frates, who raised awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has tragically passed away at the age of 34.
Frates was the creator of the so-called “ice bucket challenge” that swept the nation five years ago.
An incurable disease
Frates was a star baseball player at Boston College until he was diagnosed with the fatal disease that erodes muscle function in 2012.
Then in 2014, Frates reached out to friends, including legendary NFL Quarterback Tom Brady, asking them to donate to the ALS Association, or dump a bucket of ice over their heads to raise awareness.
The challenge caught on and quickly became a viral event that raised millions for the ALS Association and subsequent research into the disease, according to the BBC.
Upon his passing, the Frates family issued a statement saying in part: “A natural-born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity.”
It seems a cruel fate for an athlete with such potential to be struck down by degenerative musculoskeletal disease, but Frates didn’t see it that.
“Pete never complained about his illness,” his family said in their statement. “Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families. In his lifetime, he was determined to change the trajectory of a disease that had no treatment or cure.”
Frates saw this as an opportunity and not a defeat, and while his early passing is tragic, he will be remembered for all the lives he changed.
A lasting legacy
Frates’ efforts to raise awareness of the disease succeeded spectacularly and he raised millions for research. Now that effort is beginning to pay off.
Scientists have made significant progress in finding the cause of ALS and are beginning to work on possible treatment, according to Science Daily.
With continued research, it is possible that cure is out there for the devastating disease. And Pete Frates will always be remembered for his work in helping make that happen.