ALS Awareness, Lou Gehrig, and Our Time to End ALS

Lou Gehrig

Seventy-five years ago, baseball hall-of-famer, Lou Gehrig, gave an emotional farewell speech to the sport due to his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While he lost his battle shortly after, the fight to end ALS continues. Great advancements are being made worldwide every day, not only through research, but by the people living with ALS, their families, and friends who are directly impacting the pace at which we move toward developing a treatment for people with ALS today.

At ALS TDI, we own the problem to solve the ALS crisis. We will do whatever it takes to end ALS.

75th Anniversary and Partnership with Major League Baseball in 2014

Major League Baseball and all 30 Clubs are paying tribute to Lou Gehrig on the 75th anniversary of his iconic "Luckiest Man" speech by raising awareness throughout the 2014 baseball season. Gehrig made his speech upon retiring from baseball on July 4th 1939. The Hall of Fame first-baseman died from ALS two years later at the age of 37. A special July 4th effort in 2014 will include a donation to several ALS organizations to help fight against Lou Gehrig's disease. In addition, Clubs will be arranging commemorative ceremonies or other activities throughout the season, including having all players, coaches, managers and umpires wear a commemorative patch (shown here) on July 4th or when that club celebrates this initiative. MLB has also created a special video of Major League first basemen reciting Gehrig's speech, which is to be shown at all ballparks. ALS TDI is proud to have been a founding member of the 4ALS Awareness Campaign in 2009 and to be joining with MLB in 2014 to mark this historic moment. For more information visit To read the full press release from MLB, click here.

About ALS and Lou Gehrig

There are roughly 30,000 people in the US living with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. This means every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with this progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and respiratory failure. It affects people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. About 10% have a genetic form of the disease, while the majority of people live with a form of the disease that has no known cause. There is no cure or effective treatment for ALS.

Although ALS was first discovered by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, MD, in 1865, it wasn't until baseball great, Lou Gehrig (1903-1941), was diagnosed with the disease in 1939 that ALS became well-known. A baseball hall-of-famer who played for the New York Yankees from 1923-1939, Gehrig left the game due to the progression of his disease. On July 4, 1939, he gave his farewell speech to the game, calling himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." It has been credited as one of the most emotional moments in American sports history. This year, 2014, marks the 75th anniversary of his farewell speech.

For more information, please visit our "What is ALS?" resource.

A New Era: A hopeful time!
  • Awareness is growing. ALS was front and center in Microsoft's 2014 Super Bowl ad.
  • New genes are being identified. 30 genes are associated with the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease, giving researchers additional targets to test potential ALS treatments.
  • New models are being created. ALS TDI has characterized SOD1 and TDP43 mouse models to help speed up drug screening in laboratories all over the world!
  • There are more clinical trials than ever before. There are over 100 clinical trials enrolling worldwide to help solve the ALS crisis.

What is ALS TDI?

We are the world's leader in preclinical ALS research. We have 25 full-time, industry-trained, drug development experts committed and working daily to find a treatment. We have incredible flexibility to partner with many different types of organizations, resulting in over 15 active research collaborations with pharmaceuticals and other biotechs from around the world. We have sponsored a clinical trial to expedite potential treatments to people living with this disease. We were founded in a basement by a patient and his family, and that sense of urgency and perseverance still drives every decision made at ALS TDI today.

In short, we will do whatever it takes to advance our mission and achieve our goal to end ALS.

Join us in our mission. Donate today.

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