Lou Gehrig Day 2024 with the Atlanta Braves

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Lou Gehrig

Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves was named a finalist for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award last night in a special on-field presentation ahead of the Braves' Lou Gehrig Day celebration. As a result of his recognition, a local ALS family was presented with the Live Like Lou Foundation's Lou Gehrig Memorial Scholarship on the field as part of the presentation.

Justin Upchurch was diagnosed with ALS in 2019. At the game, the Atlanta Braves featured his story and the realities of living with ALS, along with Justin throwing out the first pitch. Our friends from Phi Delta Theta at the University of West Georgia have volunteered several times with Justin's family, and he received a 2023 home improvement grant from Live Like Lou. Thank you, Justin, for continuing to inspire us every day!

Live Like Lou presented TWO Lou Gehrig Memorial Scholarships to twin sisters Madelyne and McKenna Graf. Madelyne and McKenna's father, Eric, passed away from ALS in April.

Madelyne and McKenna Graf received a $2,130 scholarship from Live Like Lou in honor of Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive games played. As a surprise on the field, Matt Olson, Braves Pitcher Chris Sale (who lost his grandmother to ALS), and the Atlanta Braves Foundation surprised Madelyne and McKenna by generously matching the scholarship and funding an additional $2,130 for them to continue pursuing college degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We are so grateful to the Atlanta Braves community for their matching support of the Graf sisters' scholarship. Pictured is the Graf family with Braves pitcher Chris Sale. Chris has a personal connection to ALS, having lost his grandmother to the disease.

"Despite the overwhelming grief and uncertainty, these recent years have taught me a profound lesson in gratitude," shared Madelyne. "It's a deliberate choice, to shift my focus towards the positive, even in the face of this adversity," McKenna stated, "My aspiration is to contribute to the discovery of a cure for ALS, offering solace to other daughters and their fathers, uncles, or any family member."

Live Like Lou is so appreciative of our community and supporters who were in attendance to help us leave ALS better than we found it!

Together, we can make a difference while honoring Lou Gehrig’s legacy. Here are ways you can help! 

  • Volunteer to serve a family impacted by ALS through our Connect and Serve Program
  • Donate today. Your gift of any amount will help Live Like Lou provide grants for respite and home improvement and financial assistance for ALS individual’s dependents. 
  • Has your family been impacted by ALS? Register for Services.
  • Join Lou's Crew today! Inspired by the crew that wrapped their arms around Lou Gehrig and supported him upon receiving his fatal ALS diagnosis, you too can join the team to promote ALS awareness, raise money for ALS research, and leave ALS better than we found it. Raise $444 during the calendar year, and earn a well-deserved spot as a proud member of Lou's Crew. Are you up for the challenge?
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