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Medical Edge: ALS Reds game

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- David York and Gregg Doyel volunteer for the Central and Southern Ohio chapter of the ALS Association.

York lost his mom to the disease, "It was  a painful journey," he remembered.

Sunday, July 27, the chapter will host a day at the ballpark to raise awareness of ALS.  It's a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Doyel explained, "It shuts off your  body one piece at a time."

At the game they plan to honor those loved and lost to ALS.  ALS was formerly known as Lou Gerhig's Disease and York said many people have no idea what the disease is or what can be done to stop or prevent it.

Doyel said, "It's the 75th anniversary this year of Lou Gehrig's famous speech.  And the thing is, he gave that speech and he looked so healthy and we know about Lou Gehrig.  But we don't know how he died 'cause Lou Gehrig's family didn't want us to know."

ALS forced Gehrig to retire, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive starts.  So at the July 27 Cincinnati Reds game will be the 13th year the Reds have supported ALS awareness.

There will be 30 ALS patients and 300 family members at the game.  The first pitch will be thrown by Shirley Smelze.  She can't talk and she's had ALS for five years.  Chris Heisey will catch the first pitch.  He lost his dad to ALS several years ago.
York said the support from this event made him want to stay in the game until there is a cure for ALS.

York said, "Because you are talking with people who have been through and are going through the same thing that you are going through."

And what Lou Gehrig went through, both Doyel and York said, they will honor and never forget.

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