Some very sad news in today’s PR/PR weekly blog, as it was announced yesterday that Pete Frates, the Boston College athlete who helped make the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a worldwide social media phenomenon, passed away from the disease at the age of 34. Frates was one of the primary drivers of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $200 million for ALS research.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is credited as being one of the most successful social campaigns of all time.
Taking Facebook by storm in 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged participants to dump freezing cold water on their heads—and also extend a donation to the ALS Association to support research into the progressive and ultimately fatal neurological illness.
Pete Frates was 27 when he was diagnosed, and although this awful disease took him far too soon, his contributions to the area of ALS awareness are immeasurable. Per the ALS Association, since the inception of Ice Bucket Challenge and the boost in funding through social media promotion, five new genes related to the disease have been discovered and over 200 new research projects have begun.
That’s a way to leave a legacy—one that will have a marked impact on others who are dealing with the same debilitating illness.
Russell participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 (with a bucket assist by former Social Media Manager Lindsay Durfee) and gave to the ALS Association on behalf of PR/PR. It was a donation that all of us were thrilled to make and a viral cause that we were happy to take part in. There’s some understandable skepticism when it comes to social media trends, but this was one well worth the flooded timelines.
So rest in peace, Pete Frates. You’ve made an indelible mark on the field of ALS research and awareness, and while your valiant battle may have come to an end, your efforts have provided so much to others in that same fight.