Streaking To Cure ALS Among all the honors streaking toward Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken as he prepares to break Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive-game record on Wednesday, there may be none more important than the one establishing the $1 million Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig Fund for Neuromuscular Research at Johns Hopkins University, which will underwrite research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which claimed the life of the former Yankee first baseman. To raise the funds the Orioles gained special permission from the American League to add 260 seats on the field just beyond the first-base and third-base dugouts. At press time, 175 of the $5,000 elite seats had been sold. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, terminal disease affecting the neuromuscular system. There are 10,000 to 25,000 people afflicted with ALS in the United States at any one time, with 3,000 to 5,000 new cases diagnosed annually. It is projected that 300,000 healthy Americans alive today will develop, and die from, ALS. "Our team has worked hard since the early 1980s to find the cause of and cure for Lou Gehrig's disease," said associate professor of neurology Ralph W. Kuncl. "We find it inspiring to reflect that these are the same years in which Cal Ripken has gradually overtaken Gehrig and his iron man streak. And this year ... is also the year in which we have made a major contribution to the first treatment of the disease. "We are humbled to be joining with Cal Ripken and the Orioles in the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease, and we are deeply grateful to Peter Angelos and his committee of business leaders who made this happen. We could not be more excited about finishing the job for our patients," Kuncl said.
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