BOSTON (WHDH) - The stars were out Thursday night for a gala at TD Garden to support the fight against ALS.
Current and former New England sports stars showed out to the event to honor Pete Frates, the man behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $220 million for ALS research.
The Bourque Family foundation hosted the Captain’s Ball, a black tie fundraiser to support ALS research.
“Having his memory live on with a night like this and a lot of different nights the Frates have for Pete in terms of raising money is very special for all of us,” Bruins legend Ray Bourque said.
Frates, a Beverly native and former Boston College baseball player, died following a battle with ALS in 2019. His mother said events like this mean so much to her family.
“The first emotion is gratitude,” Nancy Frates said. “That’s what fuels us every day is the gratitude for everyone and what they do for us”
Former Patriots Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski attended the event with his girlfriend Camille Kostek, who spoke on stage.
“It’s just amazing what Pete Frates and his family and the foundation has done just for this whole community,” Gronkowski said.
Both said they had a close friend who battled the disease.
“We want to open up the eyes and the ears of people nationwide to get them talking about ALS, to get them helping fund and donate so that we can find a cure,” Kostek said.
Part of the money raised for research came from a silent auction of rare Boston sports memorabilia, including Bruins jerseys.
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy and new Captain Brad Marchand both showed their support at the event.
“The cause that it’s for and how many people it can help, you couldn’t say no,” Marchand said.
One man living with ALS said he believes there will be a cure because of Pete.
“He’s the reason why I have three drugs that I can take right now,” Mike Cunningham said. “I just actually started a fourth drug, which is a new, hopefully, cure.”
That is something the Frates family will continue to fight for.
“We all remember 2014 when everybody poured ice water over their heads and that was the beginning as we like to call it the beginning of the end of ALS,” Nancy said. “Yes, we’re much closer than we were in 2014, but we have to keep going and keep the momentum going.”
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