“Ice Bucket Challenge” Creator Pete Frates Cannot Afford His Own Medical Bills

Published May 26, 2017
Updated November 9, 2023

Although Pete Frates helped raise $250 million, he can no longer sustain the health care costs of his own ALS.

You may not know his name — or that he even existed at all — but there was, in fact, one man behind the Ice Bucket Challenge. His name is Pete Frates, the challenge he inspired has raised more than $250 million for ALS research, and now he and his family are unable to afford the costs of his own ALS.

This week, the Frates family spoke with CBS in order to share their story of hardship and reach out for support.

“Any family would be broke because of this,” said John, Pete’s father, to CBS. “After two-and-a-half years of this type of expense, it’s become absolutely unsustainable for us. We can’t afford it.”

With Pete Frates’ medical bills averaging between $85,000 and $95,000 per month (about $3,000 per day), it’s easy to the costs are absolutely unsustainable.

Thus, in order to cover those costs and keep Pete at home with his wife and two-year-old daughter (and not in a facility somewhere away from his loved ones), the Frates family has launched a campaign to raise money for Pete’s care, and to help others like him.

“We hope to start an initiative to help the Frates family and all families that are going through that and hope it takes off on a national basis,” said Rob Griffin, philanthropist and friend of the Frates family, to CBS. “We’re trying to kick it off here in Boston.”

The initiative’s goal is to raise $1 million, far less than even one percent of what the Ice Bucket Challenge brought in for Frates’ fellow sufferers of ALS.

Next after learning about Pete Frates’ struggles to pay his medical expenses, read the report from the ALS Association that explains just how well the Ice Bucket Challenge actually succeeded.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kuroski, John. "“Ice Bucket Challenge” Creator Pete Frates Cannot Afford His Own Medical Bills." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 26, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/pete-frates. Accessed May 21, 2024.