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#icebucketchallenge: A Hashtag Takeover to Strike Out ALS

By:  Stephanie Rose Aug 12, 2014
ALS Awareness

Pete Frates during his playing days at Boston College.

I want to share a story that I hope reaches friends of my friends' friends. I'm in the midst of a large hashtag campaign spreading awareness for a terminal disease called ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I have an inspiring story to share from a fellow Boston College alumnus. The story is about Pete Frates.  

By now, many of you have heard about the famous #icebucketchallenge spreading across social media. Pete Frates created this viral wave. He is the face behind the #StrikeoutALS movement.

I first discovered the #icebucketchallenge last week when I logged into Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I came across a friend’s video of her dumping a cold bucket of water over her head. In the video, she shouted out to Pete, urged her friends to check out his personal web page, asked people to donate and challenged her friends to repeat the challenge in 24 hours. I scrolled down my newsfeed and saw two other friends post the same video. Days passed, and eventually my Facebook feed was filled with ALS ice bucket challenge videos. Finally, a friend challenged me to the #icebucketchallenge.

By this time, I was well informed about the #icebucketchallenge. I had only 24 hours to decide where I was going to film the video. The answer was easy. I knew Pete loved Coca-Cola. His brother Andrew, said Pete loved drinking Coke because it gave him more energy. So last Thursday, my other Boston College friends and I drove to the Coca-Cola world headquarters. We set up on top of the parking deck and dumped not only the ice-cold bucket of water, but a 2-liter bottle of Coke on top of our heads. Take a look:

I encourage you all to read Pete's story. His story is inspirational. A champion from an early start, Pete grew up on football fields, hockey rinks and baseball fields. A captain for the Boston College Eagles baseball team, he turned pro and was on track for a successful career in sports. This all changed when Pete received life-altering news. At age 27, an outlier for his age, Pete had ALS.

ALS Awareness

Pete and Julie Frates

He could have stepped down, but Pete stepped up to the plate. He was not going to go without a fight. He was going to strike out his final and most evil competitor. Pete was going to strike out ALS. 

Pete took a simple plastic bucket and some cold water and created a global viral campaign, inviting millions to learn about ALS. The campaign no longer includes just my fellow Boston College peers. Celebrities and star athletes around the country heeded the challenge and tagged others to participate. In addition to spreading awareness, according to Mashable, the ALS Association has received 10 times the funding it received during the same period last year. Pete is to thank.

Pete is a true ALS fighter. Although he may not have the muscle movement nor the speech capability, his heart and mind have never been stronger. His passion is fueling him to spread such a prolific awareness campaign to end ALS. My dream is for this article to be found by someone in a Google search one day—much like the one that linked my symptoms to ALS—and for he or she to wonder how anyone ever could have died from something treated so easily," he wrote in a guest column for The Bleacher Report with the use of eye-tracking technology.

Another thing keeping Pete’s engine “going at full strength” is he and his wife, Julie, will be expecting their first baby in September.

Stephanie Rose is an intern at The Coca-Cola Company.