July 4th a day to be remembered

5 07 2010

  One of the most viewed and remember moments in sports history and a significant reminder of the road that we are on and what a distance we have to go; the memory of Lou Gehrig’s humanity and his strength resounds in his farewell speech giving on July 4th 1939.  71 years ago in Yankee stadium, Lou Gehrig presented the face of a disease to the American public in a dramatic farewell, one that was humbling, honest, and hallmarked with the spirit that would be repeated by so many ALS sufferers. It is a sombering reminder that in 71 years, there has yet to be a significant step in the diagnosis, treatment, or cure of the this disease and despite the growing awareness and movement to push research (many leaps being taken by groups like the Cleveland Clinic and ALSTDI), there is still a medical stigma attached that seems to keep a great deal of frustration in the community. 

Recently a member of PALS (Patients/People with ALS) took this frustration to the ALSA.  Here is what he said:

It is hard to argue with such observations and in the face of so little change in the search for a cure.  ALS is a death sentence.  There are few answers and many questions and I don’t believe that any large organization can answer them all.  I know there is a current debate online about the role of the ALSA and I agree wholeheartedly more can be done.  I also agree that local ALSA chapters are built of amazing groups of people who are passionately invovled and help to provide indispensable services that otherwise would leave those suffering from ALS and their families in dire circumstances, with even fewer answers and solutions, and little to no help or assistance. 

Its due to issues like these that my site and my fight is an unusual one.  With events like the Spin-a-thon for John Blais, the Iron Horse Challenge – for the Central and Southern Ohio ALSA chapter, to promoting Right Side of the Road foundation, Fight for Life -martial artists collective, the ALSA defeat walks, and the Tri State Trek for ALSTDI, I am trying to acknowledge the many fronts that so many are trying to push in an effort to find a cure.  Lou Gehrig might not be able to benifit from this; neither will my mother.  Without remembering and without fighting each day for those in our community that fight with this, we lose not only the hope for progress, we suffer the loss of our own memories of those we have loved, because it is in the faces and voices of those fighting now, that we find a place to do more than hope: we find the need for a cure!

Tim is just one of the many faces of ALS.  His story is not only wonderful and brave, its about love.  I think Lou would have understood Tim’s spirit. 

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