Beverly residents hold vigil to honor Pete Frates

BEVERLY, MASS. (WHDH) - Beverly residents came out to Pete’s Park Tuesday in the pouring rain to honor the legacy of Pete Frates, who died Monday after a courageous yearslong battle with ALS.

Frates, who died at 34, used the Ice Bucket Challenge to encourage donations to fight the neurodegenerative disease, eventually raising more than $200 million. His death Monday brought words of support from Gov. Charlie Baker and Red Sox hero David Ortiz, among others, and an outpouring of condolences from across the country.

“When the support and love from the community comes organically like this it just helps us heal so quickly on this,” John Frates said. “He knew deep down that he was going to do battle with this beast. This beast never met a match like Pete. But, at the same time, he gave it every piece of energy he had.”

Frates had been a star athlete at Boston College and in his home of Beverly, residents hung his jersey on their doors Tuesday. Courtney Melei, who helped organize the vigil, said she wanted to recognize Frates’ spirit.

“He’s the type of person that makes people show up and be braver and stronger than they thought they could be, dream bigger,” Melei said. “I think his expectations of himself and how he carried himself demonstrates to all of us what we can do.”

The vigil was held at the park that bears his name.

His parents say they will miss their son but take pride in the work he did to save lives — knowing someday soon it will be completed.

“I am convinced. I know it. It will happen in my lifetime and now we’ll have to reflect back on everything that he accomplished,” John Frates said.

Frates is survived by his wife, Julie; daughter Lucy; parents John and Nancy; and siblings Andrew and Jennifer.

A funeral Mass will be held Friday at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, next to the Boston College campus. The family also plans a celebration of his life closer to their Beverly home at a later date.

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