April 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - While the Boston College series next weekend will be a big one for University of Notre Dame head baseball coach Mik Aoki, it won't be because the fourth-year Irish skipper is coaching against his former program. Instead it will be because all the ticket revenue generated from the weekend will be donated to the Pete Frates #3 Fund, which is a foundation set up for Aoki's former player Pete Frates, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Frates, who played at BC from 2004-07, was diagnosed with ALS in March 2012. The disease, which causes weakness, speech problems and loss of motion among other severe symptoms, can become fatal within years of its onset. Yet despite his grim diagnosis, Pete Frates has stood resolute in his determination to fight the disease and has been a source of inspiration for all who know him, chief among them his former coach.
"Pete and I came to BC together as I was in my first year as an assistant coach and Pete was a freshman," said Aoki. "He was a really talented athlete that grew into a good baseball player. When I was promoted to head coach he was my first captain. He was an inspirational guy that always had a glass half full mentality. He played with a great deal of energy and had a passion for Boston College, his teammates and baseball. So for me personally and all those that are close to Pete, it was devastating that someone like that with so much zest for life could be diagnosed with this disease.
"We want to use this weekend to raise some much-needed funds for Pete. He has been a champion of the ALS cause and has raised a ton of awareness, but obviously he has some mounting medical costs and some things he needs in order to function on a daily basis - from nurses to new technology that helps him continue to communicate. It worked out well that we are playing BC. Pete and his family will hopefully be out for the weekend and we are very much looking forward to it."
The Irish and Eagles will play a three-game set at Chicago State's Cougar Stadium in Chicago, Ill. Game times are set for 7:05 p.m., 2:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All three times are central.
Fans can purchase tickets through UND.com/tickets and prices are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and youth.
In addition to the money raised from tickets, the Irish will also auction off their special red jerseys that will be worn throughout the weekend. The auction will be held on UND.com. More information about the auction will be announced in the coming days.
Anyone wishing to donate money to the Pete Frates #3 Fund that can't make the series or doesn't wish to participate in the jersey auction can read more about Pete and donate directly at petefrates.com.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director