All 30 MLB clubs to participate in effort to help in fight against ALS
By Mark Newman
If you thought last year's #ALSIceBucketChallenge was a "refreshing" change from the usual dog days of August, then we have some good news.
It's time for Ice Age 2. It's time to refill those buckets. Ice, ice, baby.
Major League Baseball announced today that its 30 clubs, in partnership with the ALS community, will participate in the return of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Throughout the month of August, each club will host its own challenge and will then challenge another franchise, along with two other local personalities or organizations, to partake.
As a part of the initiative, MLB is donating $100,000 to The ALS Association. The funds will be used to further collaborative efforts between several organizations. Fans can join MLB by donating at ALSIceBucketChallenge.org and to make donations to an ALS organization of their choosing.
Challenge co-founders Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, both courageously fighting the disease, will launch the challenge on Friday at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox will host the Rays. The Red Sox, who signed Frates to an honorary contract earlier this season, will lead off the MLB-wide effort and will then invite another club to follow suit. They request that people also use #EveryAugustUntilACure on social media.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cure. However, as a result of last year's viral phenomenon -- which resulted in more than $220 million in donations from 159 countries and 10 billion views -- significant new investments have been made in research on the causes and potential treatments.
"As the sport of Lou Gehrig, baseball's longstanding participation in the fight against ALS dates back to 1939," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "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."
"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."
According to The ALS Association, 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS annually in the United States, with an average life expectancy of two to five years after diagnosis. Someone with the disease dies every 90 minutes in the U.S. Also, $2 billion is the estimated cost to develop a drug to slow or stop the disease's progress, and costs of ALS patient care can exceed $250,000 out-of-pocket per year, above and beyond what insurance covers.
"You may ask, 'Why do the Ice Bucket Challenge again?'" the co-founders said in a statement. "And we understand. It's easy to see it as a one-time event. But let's make it more than that. Let's make it into a movement. ... We officially challenge you to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this August and #EveryAugustUntilACure."
Last August, MLB held multiple Ice Bucket Challenge events in New York, making a donation of $100 for each employee who participated, totaling $73,700. That did not include the donations from all 30 MLB clubs that participated as well. MLB used Game 2 of the 2014 World Series to shine further light on the subject of ALS, presenting Frates' family with an engraved silver ice bucket that they accepted on his behalf in a pregame ceremony.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.