Muscular Dystrophy Association Celebrates Lou Gehrig Day at Major League Baseball Games in May and June to Raise Awareness for ALS
MDA Tribute Tour Visits Washington D.C. for Nationals vs. Phillies, honoring Chairman and Board Member of The Lou Gehrig Society and former MDA Chairman of the Board
R. Rodney Howell M.D., FAAP, FACMG
NEW YORK, NY – May 31, 2023 – Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will honor Major League Baseball's (MLB) recognition of Lou Gehrig Day at games across the country at the end of May and throughout June to raise awareness and funds for families living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neuromuscular diseases. MDA families, volunteers, partners, advocates, and friends will fan out nationwide to participate in on-field ceremonies, from the stands, and in pre-game tailgate activities. See MDA’s ALS impact here. Donate to mda.org/endALS.
MDA is proud to partner with the following teams and celebrate the entire league for raising awareness and funds in support of our mission for people diagnosed with ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease:
- May 31: Seattle Mariners
- June 2: Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds (featuring a special post-game concert featuring Zac Brown Band with John Driskell Hopkins who was recently diagnosed with ALS), Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and a special stop by the MDA Tribute Tour at Washington Nationals game
- June 5: Philadelphia Phillies
- June 12: Oakland Athletics
- June 15: Chicago Cubs
“Raising awareness and funds to accelerate research, advance care, and advocate for access to treatment for ALS families has been central to the Muscular Dystrophy Association mission since the earliest days of our organization. We applaud Major League Baseball for its continued commitment to recognizing Lou Gehrig Day and providing baseball fans with opportunities to advance breakthroughs in ALS,” said Donald S. Wood, Ph.D., President and CEO of MDA. “As one of the largest funders of ALS research and care outside of the federal government, MDA is wholly committed to the legacies of Lou Gehrig and his wife Eleanor. Many are unaware that Eleanor became MDA’s National Campaign Chair in the 1950s to raise research funding to end the disease that took her husband’s life.”
MDA also salutes the work of The Lou Gehrig Society, especially its Chairman of the Board, Dr. R. Rodney Howell, the recipient of the MDA Tribute Award (June 3) and former Chairman of MDA’s Board of Directors, and his son, John Howell, who currently serves on MDA’s Board. Mr. Howell’s late grandfather Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, was Mr. Gehrig’s physician and came under his care every day for his remaining two years. Their friendship deepened, and when Mr. Gehrig’s widow Eleanor died, she left a large portion of her estate to support the work that Dr. Esselstyn devoted his career to, and which Mr. Gehrig came to respect and praise: identifying policies, techniques and programs that prevent disease.
"It is such an honor to see Gehrig events unfolding and expanding each year with MLB's Annual Lou Gehrig Day. Gehrig really was as special as he is portrayed in popular lore. My family members and the Gehrig's were extremely close, and he was such a good, honest, funny, tough, and humble guy. He was famous for sticking in there until his job was done, just as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Major League Baseball are doing. We will not rest until we find a cure for ALS," said Dr. R. Rodney Howell, Chairman and Board Member of The Lou Gehrig Society and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of MDA.
MDA Tribute Tour in Washington D.C. June 2-3:
MDA Tribute Tour in Washington D.C. from June 2-3, includes visits and celebrations of local D.C. champions, Care Centers, partners, volunteers, and families. The MDA Tribute Awards will honor: Diana X. Bharucha-Goebel, M.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Neurology, Children's National Hospital; R. Rodney Howell, M.D., worldwide leader of newborn screening, Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics, Emeritus, Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Emeritus Member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of MDA; Paul Robertson, Founder of Fishing For Muscular Dystrophy; Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D., aka Mama Peace, MDA family member and award-winning speaker and writer, as well as a noted advocate for personal and world peace and children's and families' needs and rights in health and education; and Janet Woodcock, M.D., Principal Deputy Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, an advocate for American patients and consumers, working to help the Commissioner develop and implement key public health initiatives. The MDA Tribute Awards presentation and reception will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023, from 6-8:30pm at The National Press Club.
About MDA's work in ALS:
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is the #1 voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. For over 70 years, MDA has led the way in ALS research, investing over $174 million in innovations in ALS science and care. Thanks to MDA-funded research, tremendous leaps forward have been made in the understanding of the causes of ALS and there are now four approved treatments. MDA's commitment to ALS includes support for a network of more than 150 multidisciplinary Care Centers at top medical institutions nationwide, including 48 designated MDA/ALS Care Centers. MDA's data hub, called MOVR, is the first-of-its-kind data technology hub, which collects clinical and genetic data from our network of Care Centers for neuromuscular diseases including ALS, serving as a valuable tool for accelerating therapy development. MDA's advocacy efforts led to the passing of the ACT for ALS into law, which will accelerate access to treatment for the ALS community. To learn more visit mda.org and follow MDA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn.