Julie Frates Will Take the “Plunge 4 Pete” in Gloucester Harbor This Year

The widow of the late Pete Frates says she knows he'll be "laughing his butt off wherever he is."

Photo via AP/Elise Amendola

Typically, in years past, Julie Frates has only ever watched other enthusiastic (and maybe a little crazy) people jump into the freezing Gloucester Harbor in honor of her husband Pete Frates in the annual “Plunge 4 Pete.” This year, she’ll be taking the jump with them.

“I know [Pete] is going to be laughing his butt off wherever he is,” she told the Boston Herald. “Because he probably finds this more than amusing.”

Pete, who passed earlier this month after an eight year battle with ALS, was “a beacon of hope for all,” his family said in a statement shared on the Boston College website. Diagnosed with the syndrome at the young age of 27, he was a former Boston College baseball star and inspired hope and joy wherever he went, despite the debilitating condition of his disease. His story and advocacy caused people everywhere to donate millions to fight ALS in the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, and he continues to inspire others through his courage and resiliency—possibly no one quite more than his wife, Julie.

This will be the first time Julie jumps in the icy water in Gloucester. She’ll do it sporting the American flag bikini she was wearing when she first met Pete eight years ago on the Fourth of July, and she wants to set an example for their five-year-old daughter Lucy.

“I just need to keep proving to her that she’s got a strong mom and we’re going to make it,” she told the Herald.

The couple met when Julie was just 21 years old, and Pete was diagnosed with ALS a year later. While Frates’ life was profoundly inspirational to many, it’s no secret that ALS requires an intense amount of medical care. Julie’s participation in the plunge is in part an effort to raise money to pay off outstanding medical debt related to his illness, a brutal reminder that the emotional and financial costs of the medical system do not pause even in the face of tragedy. But there’s no question that her presence will serve as a reminder of how much Pete’s life and work meant to people, and how important it is for that work to be continued.

On what would be Pete’s 35th birthday, Julie will jump with countless others in the final plunge for Pete. She has also, in the spirit of the ice bucket challenge, shared a new challenge of her own, with Pete’s mother Nancy Frates. The details are in a post she shared on Facebook, where she urged others to pledge, share, and come to Good Harbor.

The plunge takes place on Saturday, December 28. Registration begins at 11 a.m. at the Bass Rocks Golf Club and the plunge starts at 1 p.m. For more information please visit: petefrates.com.