Contact:
Carrie Munk
The ALS Association
571-319-3047
cmunk@alsa-national.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALS Association Recognizes the 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s Famous Farewell Speech

Washington, D.C. (July 3, 2014) —Tomorrow marks the 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s retirement from baseball. On Independence Day 1939, 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 Gehrig died from at the age of 37, two years after he addressed fans, friends and family from that ball field in the Bronx.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement,which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.

“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 presented 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 work together to name a cure in honor of Gehrig instead of a disease.”

About The ALS Association

The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.  For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.

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