Westport man's campaign helped bring Lou Gehrig Day to MLB

Major League Baseball observed its second annual Lou Gehrig Day Thursday, and a Westport man attended the Yankees-Angels game as a special guest after organizing the effort to observe the day.

News 12 Staff

Jun 2, 2022, 9:34 PM

Updated 715 days ago

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Major League Baseball observed its second annual Lou Gehrig Day Thursday, and a Westport man attended the Yankees-Angels game as a special guest after organizing the effort to observe the day.
Chuck Haberstroh says he couldn't believe that Major League Baseball wasn't already observing a Lou Gehrig Day, before he started campaigning a few years ago.
"It slowly takes away your ability to walk, your ability to move your hands, your ability to speak, eat and eventually breathe," Haberstroh said.
His mom, Patty, was diagnosed with ALS in late 2017.
"The average is three to five years people survive with this disease. My mom is in, almost in year five," he said.
Inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Haberstroh and his brothers Tom and Steve went viral with the Hot Pepper Challenge back in 2018.
"That started this movement of awareness that can lead to funding that can lead to research, that eventually will lead to treatments and cures for this disease," Haberstroh said.
His next act: starting the ad-hoc Lou Gehrig Day Committee and a grassroots effort to get the day observed across baseball.
"We started at the baseline, get those teams involved, the 30 teams, and then we pitched to Major League Baseball, and they said yes," Haberstroh said.
MLB held the first Lou Gehrig Day last year with COVID-limited crowds. This year, Haberstroh brought a group of 100 Westport residents and people affected by the disease to Yankee Stadium. He hopes awareness will lead to more research for a disease that's seen very little progress since Lou Gehrig's day.
"Eighty years ago, Lou Gehrig was diagnosed. It was the same diagnosis my mom got in 2017 that he got in like 1939," he said.
If you would like to donate, the Haberstroh family is encouraging donations to ALS Therapy Development Institute and Compassionate Care ALS.


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