Never faced a 90 mph fastball"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.
Never played in Yankee Stadium
But three-quarters of a century later,
Battles every day in the prime of her life
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.