The Ice Bucket Challenge Founder’s Family Needs Help with His Medical Bills

Pete Frates' parents say it costs up to $95,000 per month to keep him alive.

Team Frate Train

Pete Frates, center, with Team Frate Train at the 2015 Tri-State Trek/Photo provided

Last year, news broke that the Ice Bucket Challenge—the viral fundraiser for ALS research—actually worked, financing a breakthrough study led by a UMass Medical School scientist.

Today, however, the man who started the wildly popular campaign is in need of his own fundraising push. The family of Pete Frates, the local ALS patient who started the challenge, announced that they’re struggling to keep up with his medical bills.

Frates’ parents, John and Nancy, told the Salem News that it costs between $80,000 and $95,000 per month to keep their son alive. They’ve relied on fundraisers over the years, but say they soon won’t have enough money to continue his treatment.

“The funding source we’ve always relied on has dried up,” John Frates told Salem News. “The hole in the bucket is so big … it’s something we can’t keep up with.”

After fighting ALS for five years, Frates can no longer walk, talk, or move on his own. He needs 24/7 nursing support, and it costs $100 an hour—a fee that isn’t covered by insurance—to care for the former Boston College baseball star.

The Frates family is working with the ALS Association to launch a program that would provide in-home care for ALS patients who could not otherwise pay for the service. The initiative is set to launch in Boston next month.

In the meantime, the Frates’ immediate priority, of course, is keeping their son alive. They continue to fundraise, and Nancy Frates says the family is committed to supporting Pete.

“From our family’s perspective, we want to keep Pete around for as long as we can have Pete around,” she said.

To donate directly to Pete Frates, to ALS research, or to his parents’ home healthcare initiative, click here.