For Hometown News
PORT ST. LUCIE -- The St. Lucie Mets will join The ALS Association Florida Chapter and Minor League Baseball in honoring people living with Lou Gehrig's Disease and help strikeout ALS during the team's home game vs. the Ft. Myers Miracle at Tradition Field on Thursday, Aug. 7, beginning at 6 p.m.
"Baseball has had a long tradition of supporting our community and people living with ALS, the disease best known for taking the life of baseball legend Lou Gehrig and which now bears his name," said Alissa Gutierrez, ALS Association Florida Chapter's spokeswoman. "But it's been 75 years since his famous farewell speech to baseball, and we still have no cure for ALS."
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that progressively paralyzes its victims, attacking nerve cells and pathways in the brain or spinal cord. Patients are robbed of the ability to walk, eat, speak, and eventually breathe.
The Strikeout Lou Gehrig's Disease game will help raise awareness of ALS. The team will also use this opportunity to promote the National ALS Registry - a nationwide research project - that may help scientists learn what causes ALS, why veterans are at greater risk and ultimately, help find a treatment for ALS, which is fatal in an average of just two to five years.
The evening will include a number of activities:
The first 500 fans entering the ballpark will receive camouflage colored ALS Registry foam baseballs
An ALS patient will throw out the first pitch
Lou Gehrig's famous 1939 farewell speech will be played
Facts about ALS and Lou Gehrig will be read throughout the game
"We thought this would be a tremendous opportunity to support those with ALS and help bring greater awareness to this horrible disease," said Ms. Gutierrez.
"The ALS Association Florida Chapter is proud to work with the St. Lucie Mets to let more people know about Lou Gehrig's Disease," said Kim Hanna, Chapter President and CEO. "But what makes this event so special is that it does more than raise awareness; it can help us fight this disease by promoting the ALS Registry. The registry can help us learn why veterans get ALS at twice the rate of non-veterans, and it can help us do something about it. But we need to make sure people know it's there."
Upon diagnosis, patients are given just two to five years to live. ALS can strike anyone at any time, and although there is no known cure, recent scientific breakthroughs provide hope for the future. Military veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS. The connection is currently unknown.
The ALS Association Florida Chapter offers care to ALS patients living in Florida and funds research to find the cause and cure for ALS. We are part of a nationwide network of local chapters with the same vision - a world without ALS. Through care, advocacy, research, education and support, we work to empower those with ALS to live fuller lives.