Pete Frates, the ALS patient whose story inspired the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge meme, is still alive. The 32-year-old was recently admitted to the hospital again, and journalist Mike Barnicle tweeted early Monday morning that he died hours later. However, his family posted an update, confirming that he is alive and resting comfortably at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Update on Pete – July 3rd! Pete’s family wants everyone to know that Pete is resting comfortably at MGH as the Doctors, medicine, prayers and love continue to help him get stronger. Thank you for all your concern,” the statement from the family reads.
Barnicle, who contributes to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, later apologized for his mistake.
Frates’ family announced on Facebook on July 2 that Frates was back at MGH and asked for thoughts and prayers.
“Hello Team Frate Train, please keep our family and especially Pete in your prayers,” the statement read. “Pete is back at MGH and battling this beast ALS like a Superhero. We feel your love and support and are so grateful. Prayer and love – the most powerful of medicines! Thank you!”
In an interview with CBS Boston on May 23, Frates’ father, John Frates, said that any other family would be “broke” because of his son’s disease. They are still struggling to pay $85,000 to $95,000 a month in medical expenses.
“After 2-and-a-half years of this type of expense, it’s become absolutely unsustainable for us. We can’t afford it,” John Frates told CBS Boston.
Frates and his family are credited with helping to raise $250 million to fight ALS and raise awareness for the disease with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. IT became a social media trend that dominated 2014, where people challenged each other to dump buckets of ice water on their heads. It was also picked up by celebrities and Frates was honored at the 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year ceremony.
Frates and his wife, Julie, have a 2-year-old daughter. As Frates notes on his site, he grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts and attended St. John’s Preparatory School and Boston College. He played on the BC Baseball team and was captain in his senior year. He majored in communications and history. He’s been married to Julie since June 2013. His mother, Nancy Frates, tours as a motivational speaker.
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The ALS Association describes the disease as “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.”
You can donate to the Pete Frates #3 Fund by clicking here.