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New law calls for Mass. to observe ‘Ice Bucket Challenge Week’ each year

Governor Charlie Baker, right center, participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge with its inspiration, Pete Frates, center. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Governor Charlie Baker’s office says he plans to sign a law that would make the first week of August every year Ice Bucket Challenge Week.

The bill calls for the state’s governor to recognize the efforts of all Ice Bucket Challenge participants, and one of its biggest proponents, Pete Frates, 32.

A former Boston College basketball player, Frates, 32, originally of Beverly, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2012. After a stint in Massachusetts General Hospital earlier this year, Frates’ family shared that he was back home earlier in July.

House Bill 1697 was sponsored by Representative Jerald A. Parisella, a Beverly Democrat, and Senator Joan B. Lovely, a Salem Democrat, along with more than 30 other petitioners.


The bill was enacted in the House Monday and the Senate Thursday, and is now on the governor’s desk.

Baker, a supporter of the fundraising phenomenon, participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge joined by Frates and other lawmakers on the State House steps for a dousing in “wicked cold” water in 2015.

“Governor Baker was pleased to support Pete Frates and his family by hosting the Ice Bucket Challenge at the State House to raise awareness and resources for those battling ALS and looks forward to signing this bill soon as a fitting tribute,” Baker spokesman Billy Pitman said in a statement.

The Ice Bucket Challenge swept across social media over the past several years, inspiring millions of posts featuring participants dumping ice cold water on themselves to raise ALS awareness. Aside from clicks and likes, the movement also racked up more than $250 million for ALS research, including $115 million in contributions to the ALS Association.

While the fundraiser reached its peak in popularity in 2014 and 2015, it is still ongoing. On Thursday, Major League Baseball, partnered with the ALS Association, announced its MLB Fights ALS campaign, with proceeds going toward helping ALS patients and families shoulder the high cost of medical care.


Despite the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Frates still faces mounting medical bills for his own care. Donations to a fund for Frates can be made at petefrates.com.

Ben Thompson can be reached at ben.thompson@globe.com