Monday, January 28, 2013

In Lou's Shoes...

Never faced a 90 mph fastball
Never played in Yankee Stadium
But three-quarters of a century later,
Battles every day in the prime of her life
 "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."  These are the immortal words spoken by Lou Gehrig in Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.  That same day he also said, "I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for" though he knew that his baseball career was over because of ALS.  Following this speech, he lived with ALS for another 23 months.  ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and here I am, over 70 years after his famous speech, thinking of this man and his strength and courage.  There is still no cure for the disease that adopted his name and took his life.  Today, however, there is hope that treatments to slow the progression of ALS, and yes, even a cure, will be found.  Will it happen in my lifetime?  I certainly believe it can!  To make it a reality though, we need to create more awareness about ALS and spread the word that we can make a difference when we join together.

Ironically, today it is another sports figure who is promoting ALS awareness.  Steve Gleason, former NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, is living with ALS.  After receiving his diagnosis in 2011, he started Team Gleason to fund research and develop technologies to assist people with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases to live independent, productive lives.  I have been following Steve's work and life via Twitter and his website since my own diagnosis last year.  From all I have read about him, it is clear that Steve is an inspiration and a symbol of hope for others living with ALS and, really, all who know him.  He recently asked some of his friends in the NFL to help him make this video.   It is very powerful.
Though he may not be able to "lace 'em up" and join his friends on the playing field today, he has found a way to bring them together and they are making a difference … speaking for all of us who no longer speak clearly on our own.
Team Gleason's motto is "No White Flags" and there are days when I have to say this to myself, a reminder that I will not surrender.  For me, this means I will continue to write this blog, continue to "talk" about ALS and the tremendous need for better treatments, better technologies, and ultimately, a cure … now!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! I love the no white flags motto as well! I've just recently started a blog myself in the hopes of raising ALS awareness. ALS robbed me of my father, so I have vowed to fight this monster with all that I can. Keep up the fight... your blog is such an inspiration!