Published in the December 14, 2017 edition

NORTH READING — Bestselling author Dave Wedge visited the Flint Memorial Library for the second time last Wednesday to discuss and sign his book, “The Ice Bucket Challenge: Peter Frates and the Fight Against ALS.”

His writing partner, Casey Sherman, was originally scheduled to appear but was unable to attend. The book tells the life story of Frates, a Boston College baseball player with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, fatal motor neuron disease, who was the inspiration for the social media phenomenon the Ice Bucket Challenge.

AUTHOR DAVE WEDGE talks with fans at the Flint Memorial Library. (Lori Lynes Photo)

Wedge told his audience that Frates had been a three-sport athlete at St. John’s Prep in Danvers and went on to play baseball for the Boston College Eagles. Frates was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 27. At that time, he and his family were told that he would live anywhere from two to five years. That was approximately five and a half years ago.

Wedge explained that although the idea of ice bucket challenges had been used previously, Frates’ use of the hashtag “#for ALS” branded the Challenge for the disease. Although it started regionally some folks on the Red Sox heard about it. Then NFL players started posting videos. Some of those videos got air time on ESPN. Soon, Hollywood stars got involved. Within to three months it had gone completely viral.

The ALS Foundation, which was the major beneficiary of donations, was unaware that this was even going on and soon began receiving what Wedge described as a “tsunami” of donations.

According to the author, there were a number of factors that contributed to the amazing results of this campaign, including the fact that video content on Facebook, although now common, was relatively new in 2014 when this began.

The Frates’ were told that there were one billion videos posted and over 10 billion views.

Peter Frates has always dreamed of being in the Baseball Hall of Fame and in a way he’s got his wish. He and his challenge are featured in a display about ALS in Cooperstown.

“It’s always been Lou Gehrig’s disease. I hope it’ll be Pete’s cure!” Wedge told the audience.

The book was released in September of this year.

Wedge and his writing partner are in the process of negotiating a movie deal for this book, The author would not comment further. He did say their next book project will be about “Deflategate.”

The co-authors previously wrote “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy,” which is a non-fiction account of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and was the basis for the movie “Patriots Day” starring Mark Wahlberg.