By now, you’ve seen the videos: People who are “nominated” to pour ice-filled water buckets over their bodies or donate $100 to ALS research (or both). They’re all over Facebook. Celebrities are doing it. Bands are doing it. Sports stars are doing it. Someone or several someones you know have done it. But do you know the amazing story behind the man who’s at the center of it?
Meet Pete Frates.
He’s the former Boston College baseball captain who people first started dumping water on themselves for. Just a handful of years ago he was on the baseball diamond hitting grand slams and polishing his stats for a baseball career. Today, he can’t even talk.
The incredible filmmakers that are part of the “SC Featured” team over at ESPN’s SportsCenter put together the complete story, which features incredible video documenting Frates journey from healthy baseball player to wheelchair-bound advocate. It’s simply amazing.
Watch below and grab the tissues, especially when you get to the middle when narrator Tom Rinaldi reveals how Frates legacy will surely live on:
As the New York Times points out, the challenge was around before Frates and the ALS push. But since it’s been tied to Frates, it has taken off:
The Ice Bucket Challenge had been making the rounds on the Internet for several weeks before it was tied to ALS. Matt Lauer, the host of NBC’s Today Show, had water poured over his head on July 15 after being challenged by the golfer Greg Norman.
Mr. Lauer said that he would donate money to the Hospice of Palm Beach County. He challenged Brian Williams, Martha Stewart and Howard Stern.
In late July, Mr. Frates learned about the challenge from his friend Pat Quinn, a New Yorker who also has ALS, and wanted to turn the trend into a fund-raiser for the disease.
Mr. Frates nominated himself for the challenge. Instead of having ice water poured on his head — “ice water and ALS are a bad mix,” he said on his Facebook page — he posted a video of himself bouncing his head to “Ice Ice Baby,” the 1989 hit song by the rapper Vanilla Ice. He challenged some friends, and the stunt spread quickly through Boston circles, then across the web until last week when a parade of boldfaced names joined in. (Last week, Mr. Frates again took the challenge, this time having ice dumped on his head at Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park.)
“Did we ever imagine the level of awareness or the money that is coming in? In our dreams we did,” said Mr. Frates’s mother, Nancy Frates.
But while the story of Frates is inspiring, there is an element of tragedy to the challenge that happened over the weekend. Corey Griffin, who is credited with starting to use the challenge to support Frates and ALS research, died over the weekend while celebrating having raised $100,000. He dove into a body of water and drowned.
This story has been updated with more information.