Nancy Frates is sharing tributes she’s received after her son’s death from ALS

"Pete will be the spark that ignited the fire to destroy ALS."

Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player stricken with ALS whose Ice Bucket Challenge has raised millions for ALS research, is applauded by Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, far left, and his wife Julie Frates, middle, along with other family members prior to the home opener baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals at Fenway Park in Boston, Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Pete Frates is applauded at Fenway Park in 2015. –Elise Amendola / AP, File

“We lost a giant in this community.”

“One of the strongest human beings to ever walk the earth.”

“The only thing greater than his impact on ALS research was his impact on our community.”

The tributes continue to flood in a day after Pete Frates, the Beverly native who championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, passed away at the age of 34 from the degenerative disease he’d battled since 2012.

“Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency,” his family said in a statement on Monday. “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. He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.”

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Frates, a former captain of the Boston College baseball team, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 27. In 2014, he helped boost awareness of the disease after he was nominated to perform the Ice Bucket Challenge, tapping into the vast Boston sports community. The challenge quickly became a viral sensation, with entire cities, celebrities, tech moguls, and even former presidents filming themselves getting doused with ice water to raise awareness for ALS. The campaign has been credited with raising over $225 million worldwide.

Since his death, Nancy Frates has been re-sharing the memorial messages for her son, thanking those who have spoken to his lasting impact and legacy in the fight to find a cure for the motor neurone disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Early Tuesday, she shared a message from her son’s college roommate, Joe Ayers.

“None of us got an answer to – Why Pete? Why ALS?” Ayers wrote. “Instead we learned we had a hero with the abilities to make the world a better place. They said ‘diagnosis’ and he heard ‘challenge of a lifetime.’ They said ‘natural progression’ and he went out and walked his dream girl down the aisle and they had the love of his life. They said ‘no cure’ and he looked the disease in the face and added, ‘yet.’ When history looks back, Pete will be the spark that ignited the fire to destroy ALS.”

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Nancy Frates also wrote that the eighth annual “Plunge 4 Pete” — a fundraiser held each year for ALS research — will go on as planned, on what would have been her son’s 35th birthday. Participants will “enjoy a nice refreshing winter dip” at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester.

 So far, the fundraiser has raised $5,000 of the $50,000 goal for 2019 event on Dec. 28. 

“LET’S ROCK IT THIS YEAR FOR PETE!!!” Nancy Frates wrote Tuesday of the event. 

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