Baseball Teams Encouraged to Wear Wristbands to Raise Awareness of Disease; ACC Teams, Boston Red Sox among Teams Committed to Cause
Pete Frates, the inspiration behind the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that has raised more than $200 million worldwide for ALS research, is calling on college baseball teams across the country to band together to raise awareness of the disease.
Frates, a former star baseball player at Boston College, and his family today are launching a program called Band Together to Strike Out ALS that encourages teams to wear a special wristband during May, ALS Awareness Month, to raise awareness of ALS.
Baseball programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference have committed to wearing the wristbands that read “Strike Out ALS” and feature Frates’ initials and number (PF3) during the final weekend of the ACC season (May 19-21). In addition, the Boston Red Sox will join Boston College in wearing the wristbands when the teams play an exhibition on Feb. 29, and Major League Baseball also is supporting the cause.
“While we’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the tremendous support through the Ice Bucket Challenge, Pete was a college baseball player first and foremost,” said John Frates, Pete’s father. “Our hope is that college baseball teams around the country will join one of their own in striking out this dreadful disease.
“ALS is associated with baseball by virtue of its namesake, Lou Gehrig. It may have been named after the Yankees legend, but it is a NCAA student athlete and Boston College baseball player that ALS treatment and a cure will be known for.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “Because of the great Lou Gehrig, baseball has a special kinship with those who are fighting ALS. The heart and mind of Pete Frates teach us about courage, determination and vision. We thank Pete for the impact he is making to unify the ALS community and to bring Lou Gehrig’s disease to an overdue end.”
College baseball teams – and any baseball teams at any level – can purchase a team set of 24 pairs of wristbands for $150 at PeteFrates.com to support the Pete Frates #3 Fund, or the organization will work with teams that wish to purchase the wristbands on their own. Teams are encouraged to pick dates in May to wear the wristbands to raise awareness of ALS – accompanying fundraisers for the cause are optional.
Band Together to Strike Out ALS was formulated by the Frates family, Boston College coach Mike Gambino, Wake Forest coach Tom Walter and CollegeBaseballInsider.com co-founder Sean Ryan.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the amazing things Pete has done since being diagnosed with ALS,” Gambino said. “He has inspired millions of people around the world with his determination to end this disease. Closer to home, he has inspired his teammates, coaches, opponents and friends by just being Pete, an amazing person, father, husband, son and friend.”
Added Walter: “ALS can be college baseball’s cause, much the same as Coaches vs. Cancer is for basketball. The ACC baseball coaches are committed to rallying around this cause, and we hope our fellow coaches and baseball programs share our vision.”