Pete Frates might originally be from Beverly, but he received a hometown-style outpouring of affection Tuesday as Boston celebrated Frates for raising awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, around the world.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh addressed a crowd of members of the ALS community as well as friends, family, and supporters of Frates’s on the steps of City Hall as the mayor declared it Pete Frates Day.
During his speech, Walsh praised the positive effect Frates has had on the Boston community, and on young people in particular.
“We teach kids about character and courage, and we look for role models for them to understand,” he said. “Here in Boston, and certainly in Massachusetts, we don’t need to point to any heroes in movies and storybooks because we’re lucky enough to have a real-life hometown hero in our midst.”
Walsh’s proclamation coincided with the release of a book about Frates, a former baseball player for Boston College and the inspiration behind the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, a competition that raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Half of the proceeds from the book, “The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight against ALS,” will be used for Frates’s care, authors Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman announced after Walsh’s proclamation.
Walsh was joined by Frates and his family, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and chairman Tom Werner, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the Boston College baseball team, and several Boston city councilors.
Frates, 32, was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. There is no known cure for the disease, which weakens muscles and impairs physical functioning.
Frates’s mother, Nancy Frates, closed the series of speeches with an encouraging message promoting love and determination in the face of challenges.
“When Pete was diagnosed, he saw an unacceptable situation, and he told us we were given an opportunity to change the world,” she said. “With his leadership, we set out to alter the trajectory of the disease that was unheard of, underfunded, and not included, and we did it, rooted in love and focus.”