Yankee team captain, Derek Jeter, helped Major League Baseball commemorate the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech Saturday by reading Gerhig’s stirring words during a video tribute before the New York Yankees’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees also made a $25,000 donation to the MLB’s 4 ALS initiative as part of an effort to bring awareness to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the disease that disabled, then killed Gerhig. Throughout the MLB, players, coaches and on-field personnel wore patches on Saturday to honor Gehrig’s legacy and “4 ALS” logos were placed on first base in each ballpark as part of the ALS initiative.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a debilitating neurological disease most frequently occurring in adults over 40, where the nerve cells that control muscles (“motor neurons”) are damaged. Muscle cells depend on stimulation from nerves to function, and without this stimulation, muscle cells weaken or die. This leads to the classic symptom of progressive muscle weakness. This progression ultimately affects the respiratory (breathing) muscles, leading to respiratory failure. Most patients die within 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. Throughout the disease, however, mental functioning remains normal.
It is unknown what causes Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Hopes are high that the disease may eventually be treated or cured by stem cell therapy.
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