Pete Frates, the inspiration behind the now-infamous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, was hospitalized in Boston Monday.
Frates, 32, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the condition killed iconic Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig, USA Today reports. On a Team Frate Train Facebook post, the family said,
Pete’s family wants everyone to know that Pete is resting comfortably at MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) as the Doctors, medicine, prayers and love continue to help him get stronger.
They added, “Thank you for all your concern.”
In 2014, a viral trend of dumping a bucket of ice or ice water over one’s head spread through the internet with the intent of raising money and awareness for ALS, with millions around the world participating, including hundreds of celebrities. In the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, people nominated friends to “take the challenge,” and the record themselves completing the task. Videos were uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Those who didn’t want to take the challenge could donate money to an ALS charity, though many opted to do both. The campaign was effective, putting the disease in the global spotlight. Over $200 million was raised as a result, and according to the ALS Association, the funds helped with research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The research found a gene that is one of the most common genetic factors linked to Lou Gehrig’s.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University also point to the Ice Bucket Challenge as having funded their high-risk ALS research that yielded high rewards.
Frates was a baseball player at Boston College before playing and coaching for the sport in Germany. He was diagnosed at 27 years old, and married his then-girlfriend, Julie, a year after. The couple has a daughter, Lucy, born in 2014. They continue to actively raise awareness and funds for ALS research.
As of now, Frates is on a ventilator and cannot speak, but is reportedly in stable condition. The family also posted a photo from the hospital, with the caption that Frates is “battling this beast ALS like a Superhero.”