Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 5, 1995

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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