#BeYourOwnIcon: Pete Frates


A glass of ice cold water on a hot, summer day can refresh your body.

What about a bucket of ice cold water? Well, that can change the world.

That’s exactly what last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge did. It was viral marketing at its best.

Unless you were hiding under a rock, you undoubtedly watched as friends, family, strangers and celebrities – Tom Cruise, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bill Gates, Oprah and even Kermit the Frog got into the act – douse themselves with buckets filled with frigid water. And you probably got into the act, challenged by a Facebook friend to get a little wet, and well, a little cold.

It was done all in the name of charity.

It began a little over a year ago when Florida’s Charles Kennedy was nominated to do the challenge by a friend. No charity was affiliated with the challenge, but Kennedy decided it should go to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, because a family member was suffering from the dreaded disease.

Soon the challenge found its way to Pete Frates who is credited with making the challenge go viral.

Nine years ago, Frates once had a different kind of bucket (Gatorade) poured on his head after going 4-for-4, including a home run, in helping his Boston College Eagles defeat Harvard 10-2 in the Beanpot Championship at Fenway Park.

Fast forward to 2012 and while Frates’ baseball career was over, his life would be forever linked with one of the game’s greats, Lou Gehrig, after he was diagnosed with the same disease as the legendary Yankees first baseman.

Today, Frates is confined to a wheelchair, is unable to speak and is on life support. There are many things Frates can no longer do. But the one thing he can do is inspire.

According to this CNN article, more than 17 million people participated in last year’s challenge with 2.5 million people donating $115 million to the ALS Association.

And the fight goes on. This year, the Frates family said the Ice Bucket Challenge will be held once again, starting July 31 through the end of August. Their rallying cry is, “Every August until a cure.”

There will be those who wonder whether the ice bucket challenge can be as successful as last year. To us, that’s not important because last summer Frates taught us something even more powerful:

  • Giving back can be fun.
  • Find something you are passionate about and use that to improve your community.
  • Don’t ever let a disease or condition define what you can do.
  • Never stop fighting.
  • Remember what a bucket of ice can do.

In honor of Pete Frates, the Ice Bucket Challenge and those who keep fighting, we will be donating a percent of sales of our sunglasses to Frates ALS Research & Support Fund for the entire month of August. Make sure to use the code ALS2015 when checking out. 

Words of an Icon: “It’s [fighting ALS] everything now. It’s my life’s work. It’s what I believe the big man upstairs has put me here to do.” – Pete Frates