It's hard to believe that almost one year ago, we were all feverishly posting our Ice Bucket Challenge videos to spread awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS.
This summer is different though. We haven't been overwhelmed by a slew of poignant videos intended to support one of our own. We aren't all rushing to film ourselves dumping ice water on our heads. And we aren't all taking to Facebook to share this beyond-worthy cause.
But that hasn't stopped Pete Frates.
Now 30 years old, Frates is determined not only to fight the disease himself, but to help eradicate the destructive and debilitating disease altogether.
Last Friday—July 10th—the first ever Comm Ave Classic took place. In honor of Ron Perryman, Dick Kelley and Pete Frates, the charity event featured current and former NHL and AHL stars from both the Boston College Eagles and the Boston University Terriers squaring off at Walter Brown Arena.
Despite BU and BC's intense hockey rivalry, both teams came together to play for a powerful cause. The game, which will now occur annually, was a resounding success and raised north of $55,000 ($55,250 to be exact) for Compassionate Care ALS.
As this inaugural event unfolded, Pete Frates, long confined to a wheelchair, sat and watched his alma matter and its biggest rival come together to create something truly special.
Upon his arrival, Frates promptly garnered a standing ovation. Despite the intensity of the rivalry between Boston College and Boston University, fans and players of both teams overcame their differences to pay homage to a person who transcends rivalries, disagreements and bitterness to make mankind collectively smile, hope and cry.
And this event is just one of many ways in which Pete Frates has made a difference in the past year. Just because our Facebook news feeds aren't inundated with our friends and friends of friends pouring water on themselves doesn't mean that Pete hasn't been fighting.
As long as Pete Frates has a breath to take, he will fight. He will fight for his friends. He will fight for his family. He will fight for all of those who have had or will have ALS. He will fight so that one day in the not-so-distant future, no person will ever have to watch his or her body slowly and painfully atrophy, despite a totally intact mind. He will fight because he was born to fight.
In many ways, Pete has already won. But this summer, just like last, he continues to fight, whether we see it or not.
So the next time you see Frates at a Boston College sporting event, give him an extra cheer. It may just make the difference.
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.