BOSTON — The ALS patient behind the massively successful Ice Bucket Challenge has been hospitalized in Boston, his family confirmed on Facebook and Twitter on Monday.
Some media outlets incorrectly reported 32-year-old Pete Frates had died.
Frates later posted a video of himself in a hospital bed, with Pearl Jam’s “Alive” playing in the background.
in the words of my friend
— Pete Frates (@PeteFrates3) July 3, 2017
His mother tweeted that he was resting comfortably at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Pete's family wants everyone to know that he is resting comfortably at MGH-the Docs,medicine,prayers,love continue to help him get stronger.
— Nancy Frates (@momfrates) July 3, 2017
Frates’ supporters spoke out on social media, encouraging him to keep fighting.
— Matt Ryan (@M_Ryan02) July 3, 2017
In May, when Frates was on life support at home, his family told WBZ that they were overwhelmed by the mounting medical bills.
His care was costing somewhere between $85,000 and $95,000 every month, his family said.
“Any family would be broke because of this,” said Frates’ father, John.
Despite the costs, his wife did not want to move Pete to a facility. She said it was more important that he spend time with their little girl.
Frates is a former Boston College baseball player who has suffered from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, since 2012.
In 2014, he thought of an idea to raise money for the degenerative disease and ran it by a few friends.
It was simple: Dump a bucket of ice-cold water over your head, then challenge a friend or friends to do the same or donate money to the ALS Association. Make a video and post it to social media accounts.
It caught fire in a way no one imagined.
That summer, nothing rivaled the Ice Bucket Challenge in its ubiquity. More than 17 million people dumped ice water over their heads and dared their friends to do the same. Celebrities from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey took part.
Money poured in to the ALS Association. In eight weeks, it raised more than $115 million.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” the association said at the time.
There was an ever bigger payoff.
The ALS Association announced last year the donations helped researchers identify a gene responsible for the degenerative disease.
People with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) lose control of muscle movement, eventually losing their ability to eat, speak, walk and, ultimately, breathe.
There’s only one Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for ALS and it only extends survival by several months.
In May, the FDA approved the first new drug in more than 20 years to treat ALS. It will be available in the U.S. in August.