When Nancy Frates’ son was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, she was confused. Pete was a 27-year-old athlete and the only people she’d ever known with this disease were elderly already. Ever since that life-changing moment, she and her family have found their sense of purpose in working tirelessly to raise awareness about ALS and to stimulate funding for research. Because it’s been 75 years since Lou Gehrig delivered his famed farewell speech, and no treatment or cure has been found. This, says Nancy Frates, is unacceptable.
This July, Pete Frates inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which quickly became a viral fundraising phenomenon. The challenge inspired people across the United States and world to dump a bucket of ice on their head and pass the challenge on to three friends. In all, The ALS Association projects that the challenge will have raised $160 million for research by the end of 2014.
Pete Frates is now paralyzed and mute—he speaks to the world through eye gazer technology and through his family. They all remain hopeful for progress in treating this terrible disease.