Creating moments of impact for ALS families and the broader ALS community
Facilitating strategic partnerships to maximize visibility and impact in the ALS community
Expanding the reach of programs intended to generate awareness of Lou Gehrig’s disease and raise critical funds to support ALS families and fund research
During the 1,365 days Neil lived with this disease, he and his wife, Suzanne, hosted events to raise funds and bring their community together to ‘live like Lou’ while making a difference in ALS research. Phi Delta Theta and the Alexander family ultimately joined forces to launch the Live Like Lou Foundation as a stand-alone 501c3 nonprofit with a national scope and a vision to leave ALS better than we found it.
Major League Baseball and Yankees’ first baseman Lou Gehrig became a Phi Delta Theta brother during his days at Columbia University. The Fraternity has been proud to claim Gehrig as their own and has raised millions in support of the ALS community and the disease that ultimately bared his name.
The more than 170,000 living members of Phi Delt have hosted awareness and fundraising events on over two hundred campuses with undergraduate chapters, they’ve supported families affected by ALS in their local communities, and they’ve served in leadership for several ALS organizations. They have been devoted to the ALS community in their brother Lou Gehrig’s honor for decades.
Phi Delta Theta established the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in Major League Baseball in 1955. The award is given annually to the MLB player who best exemplifies the spirit and character of Brother Lou Gehrig, both on and off the field. The award was created to acknowledge an individual player’s outstanding commitment to his community and philanthropy. Since the award’s inception in 1955, each recipient’s name has been placed on the permanent Gehrig Award plaque, located at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
In 2010, Phi Delta Theta launched the Iron Phi program to provide individual members an opportunity to strengthen their impact on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease by completing an athletic endeavor and raising at least $1,000 from their network of family and friends. As a result, more than 1,500 Phi Delts and friends of Phi Delts have accomplished their Iron Phi goal, and $3.2 million has been raised along the way.
With the announcement, Lou Gehrig joined Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as the only players to have a day reserved in their honor throughout the league. For those who have been affected by ALS and those who support and advocate for the disease, Lou Gehrig Day provides another major platform to strengthen Lou Gehrig’s legacy. It also gives many ALS families hope that heightened awareness and funding for this awful disease will bring great progress for treatments or a cure.
Why June 2? It is the day in 1925 that Gehrig began his record-breaking consecutive games streak (2,130), and later, the day the Iron Horse died in 1941.
Live Like Lou, Phi Delta Theta, and its partners have established annual Lou Gehrig Day events at MLB games celebrating our namesake.
Join Live Like Lou on its journey to leave ALS better than we found it by becoming an ambassador.Get involved
Live Like Lou’s founder, Neil Alexander, embodied the spirit of the word ONWARD when he thought of his journey with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It signifies that we look to the future—a future without ALS—while continuing forward each day, despite the odds we face. ONWARD has become a signature statement for friends of Live Like Lou and its volunteer efforts to support ALS families.
In Neil’s last interview with a reporter before ALS took him from this earth, he was asked how he hoped his children would remember him. He knew that his efforts with Live Like Lou wouldn’t likely save his own life; but he did it for the next guy, gal, or family who heard the devastating news, “You have ALS.” Neil told the reporter that he hoped his children, Abby and Patrick, would remember that he left ALS better than he found it. From that, Live Like Lou’s vision was set.