Remembering Lou Gehrig and His Farewell to Baseball On Independence Day

July 3, 2014

On Independence Day 1939, Lou Gehrig recited these memorable words: "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

Seven decades following what many consider sports’ most famous speech, Gehrig continues to inspire millions of Americans, both the game’s fans and those individuals and families living with the eponymous disease that he died from at the age of 37, two years after he addressed fans, friends and family from that ball field in the Bronx.“

Even 75 years after he told fans about his ALS diagnosis, Lou Gehrig remains an inspiration to The ALS Association and many in the ALS community,“ said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “Gehrig’s bravery and determination in facing this disease typify the behavior of those battling this disease today.”

Since May, The ALS Association has honored Gehrig’s legacy and today’s faces of ALS via a nationwide campaign that concludes at the end of this month to raise both awareness of the disease as well as money to fund cutting-edge research for potential treatments and a cure. Visitors to this site can read the stories of people with the disease, share these stories via socialmedia, make a donation to research, or spread ALS awareness by downloading assets for Facebook or Twitter. To date, more than 800 people have submitted their personal stories.

This infographic, also available on the campaign site, discusses statistics related to Gehrig’s successful career with the New York Yankees, which includes his longstanding record of consecutive games played and his moniker, “The Iron Horse.” Team mates coined this term for Gehrig since he persisted playing professional baseball in spite of suffering repeated physical injuries.

Also in the infographic are facts about ALS research findings along with information about The Association’s global research program, Translational Research Advancing Therapies for ALS (TREAT ALS™). The goal of TREAT ALS is to “translate” research findings as soon as possible into meaningful treatments and a cure for the disease; presently, The Association is funding 98 active research projects with an award value of $18.1 million.

“Spreading awareness of the disease that caused Lou Gehrig to die at such a young age coupled with supporting research are galvanizing actions that will ultimately lead scientists to finding much-needed breakthroughs to understanding the causes of ALS and treating this disease,“ said Newhouse. “This campaign underscores the urgency for the ALS community to wwork together to name a cure in honor of Gehrig instead of a disease.”

Read the press release.

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