BEVERLY — Pete Frates can’t wait to spend his 29th birthday this Saturday at the beach.
Watching his family, friends and the many people that care about him jump into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, that is.
More than 170 people have already signed up to take the 2nd annual ‘Plunge For Pete’ this Saturday at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. All proceeds from the event, which begins at 1 p.m., go to benefit The Pete Frates #3 Fund.
A Beverly native and three-sport star at St. John’s Prep who went on to captain the Boston College baseball team, Frates was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in the spring of 2012. Since that time, he and his tight-knit family have been staunch advocates in the fight against ALS and finding a cure for it.
A year ago 100 brave souls braved the 35-degree temperatures to take the plunge and raised money for ALS by having people sponsor them. By the time this Saturday rolls around, the Frates’ feel the number of plungers could be more than double than what it was last December.
“It’s been simply amazing, the support we’ve been getting,” said Nancy Frates, Pete’s mother.
Pete’s brother-in-law, Dan Mayo, and Tom Saxton, a Boston College classmate of John and Nancy Frates, both work at Morgan Stanley in New York City and have raised close to $25,000. Darlene Sawacki, Pete’s nurse practitioner at the ALS Clinic at Mass. General, is plunging along with eight of her family members. And Swampscott’s Dave Portnoy, who runs the highly popular ‘Barstool Sports’ website (”Pete’s a big Stoolie,” his mother laughed) and Team Barstool Sports are also participating and drawing awareness to the cause.
People can both sign up to plunge (”Freezin’ For a Reason”, as the Frates’ like to say) or pledge a plunger through Pete’s website, www.PeteFrates.com.
“Last year we met every Monday night for about 10 straight weeks trying to iron out all the details of the plunge,” said John Frates, Pete’s dad. “But this year it’s been like clockwork, with so many people who plunged last year coming back again — and they’re telling all their friends about it, too.”
Plungers will take a heated bus from Bass Rocks Country Club to Good Harbor Beach for the plunge, then back again. A post-plunge party will then be held at Bass Rocks featuring food and a cash bar, prizes and a live band, Karate Show. There will also be awards handed out for things such as most money raised and best costumes; a year ago, plungers wore everything from old-time striped swimsuits to Batman and Robin getups.
The St. John’s Prep baseball team will again volunteer at the event as well.
In addition, Pete has chosen three organizations that a portion of the funds will be donated to: ALS Worldwide, a non-profit organization that provides support to ALS families internationally through scientific research interpretation, individual patient advocacy and community activism; Compassionate Care ALS, another non-profit that offers individualized support to those living with ALS, their families and caregivers; and Quinn 4 The Win (http://room3606.com), set up by 30-year-old Yonkers, N.Y. native Patrick Quinn, who also has been diagnosed with ALS and has become friendly with Pete.
For more information about Saturday’s “Plunge 4 Pete” — whether you’d like to sign up to plunge or sponsor a plunger — visit Pete’s website at www.petefrates.com.