Baseball’s “Iron Horse” was born 111 years ago on June 19 in New York City. A first generation American, Lou Gehrig rose to prominence in America’s national past time as a successful hitter and for his endurance, playing 2,130 consecutive games with the New York Yankees.
Birthdays serve as times to celebrate the special individuals in our lives. They allow us to remember a person and his or her accomplishments and represent a numerical milestone during their tenure on Earth. Like most people with ALS, Gehrig’s time with us was all too brief. He died at the young age of 37 from the disease, just two years after he received his diagnosis.
What many recall – and celebrate – about Lou Gehrig are the qualities that made him a superstar on the ball field: his grit, bravery and his fighting spirit against a ruthless disease. Friends and fans bestowed upon him the nickname “The Iron Horse” because of his willingness to play baseball in spite of experiencing repeated injuries to his back, foot and hand.
As this year is the 75th anniversary of the Yankee slugger’s famous retirement speech from baseball due to ALS, The ALS Association is honoring Gehrig’s legacy and those individuals living with ALS with a national ALS awareness and fundraising campaign. This campaign commenced in May, National ALS Awareness Month, and concludes in July. All funds raised during this three-month campaign will go toward ALS research.
Aside from raising funds for research, the campaign highlights today’s faces of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The Association and its chapters are encouraging those submitting their personal ALS stories and their Facebook and Twitter followers to share or re-tweet these stories on these social media sites to spread ALS awareness.
As members of the ALS community and baseball aficionados reminisce about and commemorate Lou Gehrig’s legacy, let’s keep in mind that discovering the causes, treatments – and finally a cure – would be the perfect birthday gift for Gehrig….and for the tens of thousands of Americans battling this insidious disease.