Local man leads push for Lou Gehrig day

Local man leads push for Lou Gehrig day
Posted at 11:03 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 23:22:49-04

CINCINNATI — Major League Baseball is set to hold the first ever Lou Gehrig day the first week of June – honoring the baseball legend and raising awareness for ALS.

It’s something that ALS advocates have been trying to make happen for years and the day likely would not have happened without some help from Tri-State resident Adam Wilson.

Adam and Avery Wilson

His 11-year-old daughter Avery has been working on her throwing arm a lot lately.

“Good,” she said, when asked how it’s been going. “I think I’ve improved a bit.”

Avery Wilson’s been practicing for one very special throw that’s coming up next week – she’s throwing out the first pitch before the Reds take the field for the first ever Lou Gehrig Day.

“Scary,” she said when asked how it’s going to feel. “I don’t want to mess it up.”

It will be an annual event to raise awareness for the disease that became synonymous with Lou Gehrig. It’s also a disease with which Avery’s father, Adam, lives.

ALS bracelet

“It’s a disease that robs you of your ability to move, swallow and breathe,” Adam Wilson said through a speaking machine. “Eventually, I will be totally paralyzed.”

He was diagnosed April 7, 2015 but said he started noticing symptoms a couple years earlier.

“It started in my right hand,” Adam Wilson said. “I noticed I was shooting a basketball worse than I normally do.”

He’s one of the reasons the MLB decided to start Lou Gehrig day in the first place. He is one of three co-chairs in the years-long effort to make this day a reality – with the goal of raising awareness about ALS and money for more research.

Adam Wilson with Reds players

The disease was discovered in 1869 but still has no cure.

“It results in death 100% of the time. Every. Single. Time,” Adam Wilson said. “A person diagnosed today has the same prognosis as Lou did over 80 years ago and that’s unacceptable.”

Lou Gehrig’s Day is being celebrated Wednesday, June 2nd – the first Reds game of the season without capacity limits for fans – making it a memorable game for a lot of reasons.