You would have to live under a rock to have missed the remarkable phenomenon of the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” It will soon exceed $100 million raised to further ALS awareness and research. Who would have guessed that watching people getting doused with buckets of ice water could be so much fun?
Beverly, Mass., resident Pete Frates, along with his family, helped to make the “Ice Bucket Challenge” go viral on the social sites Facebook and Twitter. Frates, 29, has lived with ALS since 2012, and has worked with The ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter. A former Division 1 college athlete with Boston College baseball, Frates tirelessly spreads awareness of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease according to the ALS website.
And speaking of Lou Gehrig, this year is the 75th anniversary of Gehrig’s retirement from baseball. His premature retirement at age 36 was forced by the symptoms of this devastating disease. Many of us have forgotten the amazing details of Gehrig’s baseball career including:
- Batting an average of at least .300 in every year of his career except the one previous to retirement. A .340 lifetime batting average.
- Collecting more than 400 total bases in 5 different seasons, a major league record.
- Hitting 23 career grand slam home runs, a major league record.
- Earning recognition as the game’s greatest total runs producer in baseball’s history thanks to the combination of his RBIs and run scoring.
- Achieving the American League record of 184 RBIs in 1931, a mark still standing today.
- Playing every game for 13 seasons. X-rays taken late in his career showed 17 different fractures that had healed while he continued to play.
Lou Gehrig was dubbed The Iron Horse by the press based on his streak of playing 2,130 consecutive games, which ended when he asked his manager to take him out the lineup due to his fading abilities (and imminent disability diagnosis). Gehrig’s record stood for 62 years until it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.
Iron Horse has morphed over the years to become Iron Man, an athlete of unusual physical endurance. And yet, this Iron Horse – Lou Gehrig, experienced a career ending diagnosis, disability and eventual death in his mid-thirties. Still feeling invincible?
Even highly-skilled athletes in the prime of life can become disabled. And no, those disabilities are not necessarily caused by the physical demands of their sport or an accident. Remember that when you have your next client meeting. And ask this question:
Have you taken time to protect your most valuable asset, your ability to earn an income?