For Wes Rose, that moment came out of left field. He was 33 years old and had two young sons. Then, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
"It was tough to hear," said Rose, now 40. "I never thought I'd get ALS. It really can strike anyone. Most of the cases are sporadic. They don't know what the cause is."
On Thursday, the entire Phillies roster will mingle with an expected 7,000 fans at the 28th annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $12.7 million for The ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter's patient services and research. Last year, more than 6,000 fans attended and contributed nearly $900,000 to the cause.
Rose, a professor at Arcadia University, is a board member with the ALS Association. He has been involved with the organization for seven years.
"There are a lot of things to look forward to," Rose said. "One thing is to see all of the people out, to see the players and also to support The ALS Association. It's really a good opportunity for people, not only to come out and meet the Phillies, but also to support a great cause."
At the event, which runs from 4-6 p.m. ET, the Phillies will hold a silent and live auction with hundreds of items from sports and entertainment celebrities, a private meet-and-greet between patients with ALS and players, player autograph and photo booth sessions and other activities and games.
Tickets to the live and silent auction portion of the Phillies Phestival are still available by calling 215-463-1000. More information, including a list of silent and live auction items, is available at www.phillies.com/philliesphestival.
Rose had the opportunity last week to thank the players and their wives for their participation.
"They're a bunch of really good, down-to-earth guys," Rose said. "It's really cool to see that they're regular guys like everybody else."
A progressive neuromuscular disease, ALS is named after former Yankees first baseman and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, who succumbed to the disease in 1941. More than 30 people with ALS and their families will be in attendance on Thursday.
"It's taken a lot away from me, but you really learn how to live your life," Rose said. "You no longer look 10-20 years down the road. You focus on today. I really get to appreciate the time I have with my two young boys. ALS has taught me not to look too far ahead and not take what you have for granted.
"I'm not looking for sympathy. You want to live as much of a life as possible. I've been blessed to do that. I try to enjoy things for what they are and not take things for granted."