On May 21, 2010, The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced its new awareness campaig
On May 21, 2010, The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced its new awareness campaign driven by several ALS patients diagnosed with ALS before the age of 30. The Young Faces of ALS campaign was designed and led by a group of seven young men and women.
In their first campaign, our YFALS ambassadors visited all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) parks during the 2010 baseball season. They used this national platform to educate people about how ALS can strike anyone. As a group, they showed the diversity of people living with ALS. The disease impacted and continues to impact, each of their bodies and lives in different ways.
Over the past nine years, their pitch has helped to slow and stop the disease by encouraging support of the on-going research at ALS TDI. Today, our team of seven has grown to 28 as they continue to push research forward. Their efforts have paid off with the recent advancement of antibody therapeutic AT-1501 to Phase 1 clinical trials. In honor of this advancement, we’d like to re-highlight the YFALS ambassadors that started it all.
The Original Seven
'For 70 years Lou Gehrig has been the face of ALS. Sadly, in that time, not a single effective therapeutic has been discovered and most Americans know little-to-nothing about the disease. It is time to put a new, younger face on the disease. I hope to be that face, and not only raise awareness, but also the funding necessary to put an end to ALS.' - Corey Reich, 24 (now 32), assistant Piedmont High School tennis coach in Piedmont, CA
'ALS is a disease that doesn't draw much attention because it is perceived as your grandfather's disease. A sickness that affects a man that has lived a full life. It is quite the opposite. It touches the lives of young people every day. This debilitating, cruel and inhumane disease deserves your attention. We deserve a cure.' – Melissa Erikson, 27 (passed in 2013), former University of Washington basketball star in Seattle, WA
Megan kicked off the YFALS campaign with Reich and Erikson at the May 23, 2010 San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics matchup. ALS runs in Mishork’s family and has been traced back more than five generations. - Megan Mishork, 26 (passed in 2011), familial ALS patient in the Bay Area, CA
'When I returned home from Iraq I thought I was done fighting. Now, I am fighting for my life against an enemy that has been killing for over 70 years. We cannot win this fight alone. I am dedicated to seek out anyone who will stand by us as we wage war on this deadly disease.’ – Ian Hogg, 29 (now 37), retired US Marine Sergeant in Birmingham, AL
Tim's ALS is derived from a rare genetic variant caused by a genetic mutation. Tim's friends and family have organized themselves into a group known as the 'Often Awesome Army,' whose 1000+ members provide Tim with support through online and in-person activities. Tim will leverage this support system to build awareness via social media and attend as many games as possible. – Timothy LaFollette, 29 (passed in 2011), a musician from Greensboro, NC
‘I remember at one point, thinking about all of the things I wouldn’t get to do like go through college, get married, have kids, raise a family… I think as all those moments come and go, I’ll look back and think how blessed I was to be able to do all of this and how lucky I am to still be here.’ (quote from TommieMedia)- Alex Grausnick, 20 (now 29), Accounting and Spanish student at University of St. Thomas
'I was 20 year old, NOT even legally allowed to drink alcohol, but I was allowed to be diagnosed with a terminal illness without hope! Doesn't seem right does it? If we do not find a treatment soon, forget about saving money for your child's college fund, your daughter's wedding or your own retirement. You're going to need every penny for their medical expenses, making your house accessible for someone who is in a wheelchair, hospital bed etc. Help us stop this disease before it becomes an epidemic!' – Alyssa Reardon, 24 (now 33), Plantation, FL