Red Sox message board Sons of Sam Horn will host an online auction to benefit the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association, partnered with Curt Schilling and Curt's Pitch for ALS. The auction raised over $63,000 a year ago -- and among the items featured this year are a reception with Jim Rice, a trip to Red Sox fantasy camp and tickets to a Red Sox game in Baltimore in late July. You can find the entire catalogue of aution items here.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- known commonly as Lou Gehrig's Disease -- is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As motor neurons degenerate and die, the patient gradually loses muscle function throughout his or her body. Life expectancy for a patient afflicted with ALS is between two and five years, though more than half of all patients live for more than three years after diagnosis. (Click here for more information.)
My Uncle Mark was diagnosed with ALS in 1985, shortly after his son was born. The disease robbed him first of muscle function in his arms; he'd been an anesthesiologist but had to give that up upon his diagnosis, and he soon could do nothing with his arms but let them hang at his sides. He learned to use a computer with his feet and did so until the disease robbed him of his ability to use his legs, too. He passed away in November of 2002, just a month before his son turned 18 years old.
Please do check out the auction items. There's no cure for ALS, but there may soon be -- and there's plenty we can do to improve the quality of life for those who still have to live with so cruel of a disease.