BOSTON — To honor Peter Frates — the former Boston College baseball player whose public battle with ALS inspired the popular “ice bucket challenge” — do as he did, the priest who officiated at his funeral said Friday.
“The best way to honor him is to try to imitate him,” the Rev. Tony Penna said during the Mass at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive nerve disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease that eventually results in total paralysis, in 2012. There is no cure.
“Peter was aglow with the spirit of God,” Penna, director of campus ministry at Boston College, told hundreds of mourners who packed the church next to campus. Frates’ survivors include his wife, Julie; daughter, Lucy; parents, John and Nancy; and siblings, Andrew and Jennifer.
The ice bucket challenge has raised about $220 million worldwide, including $115 million alone for the Washington-based ALS Association. Much of the money has been poured into research and has already led to breakthroughs, the association said.
Frates’ funeral procession started in his hometown of Beverly, north of Boston, and passed his former high school, St. John’s Prep in nearby Danvers. Hundreds of current students at the all-boys Catholic school linked hands along the roadside as the procession passed.
Some students wrote the numeral 3 — Frates’ jersey number at Boston College — in the snow on the school’s athletic fields,
Highway signs on Route 128 and Interstate 95 displayed messages paying tribute to the local hero.
Boston 25 News will have an in-depth special Friday night on his life and legacy.
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