This week marked a historical moment in the fight against ALS with the official launch of Lou Gehrig Day, now an annual event across Major League Baseball to help spread awareness and raise funds for people living with ALS and their families.
While ALS was originally identified in 1869 by the French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, it became more widely known internationally on June 2, 1941 when it ended the career of one of baseball’s most beloved players, Lou Gehrig. To this day, ALS is still commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
With all 30 teams participating, many worked closely with our national network of local chapters to make the day even more memorable for the cause. In stadiums across the nation, teams offered people living with ALS and their families special game day experiences like New York, Atlanta, Seattle and Philadelphia to name just a few. Even MiLB teams in places such as Oklahoma and South Carolina showed their support by working with their local ALS Association chapters.
The awareness raised from this inaugural event is truly immeasurable for the ALS community. Stories, videos and tributes are being shared nationwide, honoring Lou’s incredible legacy and showing support for the fight against ALS. National news and programming including highlights on the Today Show, CNN and many more expressed their support as well as countless regional and local news stations around the nation.
National print publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post and People Magazine, to name just a few, shared stories commemorating this significant moment, stressing the importance of more awareness for ALS and the critical need to find new treatments and a cure. The internet and social media were abuzz and included multiple accounts shared on MLB.com in addition to the overwhelming amount of nationwide coverage.
With awareness, funding will come, and we will be that much closer to finding new treatments and a cure for ALS. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and tireless efforts of the members of the Lou Gehrig Day Committee and the ALS community who were determined to bring this new annual event to fruition. A special thanks to all of you and to Major League Baseball and all 30 teams for your commitment to helping create a world without ALS.