CHICAGO, July 31, 2015 —The 2015 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will officially get underway today at Fenway Park in Boston, when Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox honor Ice Bucket co-founders Pat Quinn and Pete Frates, the ALS community and Lou Gehrig’s legacy by taking the challenge. MLB is donating $100,000 to further collaborative efforts among the ALS organizations to find treatments and cures for the disease.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.
“MDA takes a big-picture perspective to fight ALS — investing in research to find breakthroughs that will lead to treatments and cures, caring for people from day one at our specialized clinics, and helping ALS families in hometowns across America live longer, stronger lives,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “We are honored to partner with ALS Ice Bucket co-founders, ALS families and other organizations to rally behind this year’s Challenge.”
Since last summer, MDA has launched an aggressive plan to refocus its research program and capitalize on its position to advance frontline discoveries across diseases — with the expectation that increased understanding in one disease area will inform progress and lead to research and medical breakthroughs in other disease spaces.
“We can’t wait to see what this summer brings, and we look forward to applying the funds raised during the Challenge in year two to research that will provide insight into the causes of ALS and potentially lead us to treatments and cures,” said Derks. “We plan to partner with the ALS community to go all in again this August — and #EveryAugustUntilACure.”
MLB announced that all 30 Clubs will participate in the return of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this August. Throughout the month, each Club from the San Francisco Giants to the Florida Marlins will take the challenge and challenge another franchise, along with two local personalities or organizations.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said, “As the sport of Lou Gehrig, Baseball’s longstanding participation in the fight against ALS dates back to 1939. In 2015, there remains no cure to the disease that bears his name, even after the great strides of last summer’s phenomenon. Pat and Pete are passionate baseball fans, and in memory of Lou Gehrig, MLB and its Clubs are honored to support their vision.”
Since its inception, MDA has dedicated more than $344 million to ALS research and health care services, and in 2014 alone, funded 64 ALS grants with a total commitment of more than $17.2 million. MDA celebrates the opportunity to collaborate and coordinate with other ALS organizations to raise money for research and health care services.
“We are so thrilled and grateful to have every Major League Baseball team supporting us this year,” said Frates, a former Boston College baseball player and team captain. “Pat and I can’t wait to kick things off this Friday at Fenway. As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge hits every ballpark around the country, we hope it will get bigger and bigger.”
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of people with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement.
Participating ALS Organizations: The ALS Association, ALS Canada, ALS Hope Foundation, ALS Therapy Development Institute, ALS Worldwide, Answer ALS, International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations, Iron Horse Foundation, Les Turner ALS Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Prize4Life, Project A.L.S., Target ALS, Team Gleason, The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research