Perhaps you have heard about the ice bucket challenge, a social media campaign from several summers ago. This challenge “dared” people to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads or give money to support ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and pass it on via social media. The inspiration behind the ice bucket challenge, which raised more than $115M for ALS, is Pete Frates, who was a star baseball player (and captain) at Boston College before he was diagnosed with ALS at the young age of 27.
What is ALS?
ALS affects motor neurons that control voluntary muscles. Individuals with ALS suffer from stiff muscles and muscle twitching that worsen as the muscles shrink. It is degenerative and fatal. Eventually patients have trouble speaking, swallowing and breathing. The disease affects 2 or 3 people per 100,000 in the United States and Europe. The only treatments extend lives a few months. There is no cure.
Boston College and Boston University have rivalries as they are located in close proximity, but no rivalry is more serious than their hockey rivalry. Both teams have a host of players who have gone to play in the NHL or European leagues. Several years ago, Pat Mullane and Andrew Orpick, both former BC hockey players who knew Pete Frates and former sports information director Dick Kelley, who also died from ALS in 2014, decided to take this rivalry to another level and to a charity game.
Known as the Commonwealth (Comm) Ave Classic, referring to the main road in Boston on which both campuses reside, the charity game celebrated its fourth year this past August, supporting Compassionate Care ALS, the Travis Roy Foundation, and The Pete Frates Home Health Initiative. Besides Pete Frates, Travis Roy’s foundation is involved as well, which supports spinal cord injury sufferers. Travis injured his spine as a BU hockey player when he slid into the boards. The game brings together graduates of both schools and nearly as many stars as you will see in the NHL All Star Game. In the spirit of charity, players like Chris Kreider, Charlie McAvoy, Jack Eichel and Brian Dumoulin sign autographs for kids as they enter and leave the rink, and even during the game.
Kerafast is proud to sponsor this hockey game and the organizers and players who give considerable time and effort to support this great cause. Kerafast hopes that our mission of helping academic researchers expose their reagents to a larger audience furthers research to find cures for diseases like ALS and treatments for spinal cord injuries.