“Today… I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” echoed through the standing room only crowd at Yankee Stadium on Independence Day in 1939. Fans, writers, photographers, fellow players and Lou himself, all wept, as his hall of fame career came to a bittersweet end.
The man also known as the Iron Horse for his outstanding athletic prowess bravely announced what his adoring fans already knew—he had been given a bad break; he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. Less than two short years later, on June 2, 1941, that bad break took the unassuming Lou quietly in his sleep at his home in the Bronx.
The ALS Association, a global leader in research to find a cure for ALS, is proud to honor this great man and all who have shared his battle with this debilitating and deadly disease. ALS strikes up to 2 in every 100,000 people in the U.S. and indiscriminately attacks, most commonly afflicting people between the ages of 40 and 70. An estimated 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any one time. ALS occurs throughout the world with no obvious racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundary. Yet, U.S. military veterans are twice as likely to die from this disease than any other segment of the population.
That is why The ALS Association is leading the crusade against this disease by actively supporting innovative research and awarding grants to the world’s leading scientists who are vigorously working day and night to find the cause and a cure for ALS.
For those with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s legacy remains a pillar of strength and hope. We are fortunate to live in an age where scientific discovery is occurring at an accelerated rate, and physicians, scientists, and the pharmaceutical industry are partnering together in the fight for people with ALS.
So as we at The ALS Association celebrate Lou’s birthday every year on June 19, we remember one of the most well respected and beloved American heroes and honor his memory by coming together to fight for a common cause, the battle against the disease that is most associated with his name.