Ice Bucket Challenge Week now enshrined in state law

Gov. Charlie Baker talked to Ice Bucket Challenge founder Pete Frates after participating in the challenge on the State House steps in 2015. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File/2015]

BOSTON (SHNS) – It’s now officially Ice Bucket Challenge Week in Massachusetts.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday afternoon signed a bill (H 1697) designating the first week in August to commemorate the viral fundraising campaign started by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates.

Assisted by social media, the Ice Bucket Challenge raises money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, research. As participants donate to the cause, they dump a bucket of ice water on their head and challenge others to do the same so the fundraising continues.

Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.

The ice bucket campaign, launched in 2014, has raised more than $250 million, according to the Frates family.

Baker, who in 2015 led a group of officials in completing the challenge on the State House steps with Frates, did not hold a public signing ceremony for the bill. On Tuesday afternoon, he posted on Twitter that he was proud to sign it to honor Frates and his family “for their incredible work on ALS.” The accompanying photo of the new law showed he signed it at 1:58 p.m.

The legislation, which the Legislature sent to Baker’s desk last Thursday, charges the governor with annually proclaiming the first week of August at Ice Bucket Challenge Week in recognition of Frates and “all persons that participate in raising funds and awareness to battle the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and recommending that the week be observed in an appropriate manner by the people.”

The proclamation Baker issued said more than 2.4 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos have circulated on social media, and the funds raised through the effort led to “breakthrough discoveries” in ALS research.