Over the last month, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become the biggest trend in the United States. For those who don’t know what it is, the viral activity is a social media challenge where a person has to either dump a bucket of ice water on themselves or donate $100 to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.
But where did this fad start? The roots of this sensation are linked to ex-Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates.
A few years after graduating from Boston College, Frates was diagnosed with ALS. Frates and a couple of friends came up with the Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of him. The Challenge really took off after Frates challenged some prestigious Boston athletes, and they in turn accepted.
Starting with the New England Patriots and some prominent Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox players, this challenge has spread to athletes of all sports, famous celebrities, President Barack Obama and everyday people around the country. Tens of thousands of Americans are currently diagnosed with this disease, and it is considered one of the most devastating diseases one can be diagnosed with, most famously taking the life of Yankees great Lou Gehrig. However, prior to this challenge, many Americans didn’t know much about this disease. Now, I’m sure everyone has at least run a quick Google search on the disease.
Since the beginning of this challenge in late July, the ALS Association has received over $79 million in donations as opposed to under $2 million by this time the previous year.
Since being diagnosed with ALS, Frates has gotten married and has a child on the way. He is now almost fully paralyzed and can no longer talk, but he has started something that will help the lives of people with ALS for years and years to come.