May 5th, 2011, marked the 3rd consecutive year that the Boston Red Sox have participated in the league-wide 4♦ALS Awareness Campaign. This year’s events continued its focus on involving people living with ALS in all aspects of the pre-game ceremony. ALS TDI was pleased to be joined by representatives from the MDA and the ALSA Mass Chapter and other advocates and folks touched by ALS (pictured above).
In addition, the Boston Red Sox recognized ALS TDI scientist Ken Thompson (pictured here with his family). Thompson was childhood friends with ALS TDI inspiration, ALS patient Stephen Heywood, and has been part of the research and development team at ALS TDI for more than 10 years. He is primarily responsible for determining how to delivery drugs into an ALS model to check for their potential as treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Many patients and families participated in the pre-game ceremony, including throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, saying “play-ball” and singing the national anthem. However, one patient, Frank Provost of Hinesburg, VT, missed the pre-game ceremony because of the unexpected heavy traffic clogging the area around Fenway Park. “There aren’t many options to speed things up when you have ALS. You have to move at the pace of the disease. That means parking a van, unloading a wheelchair, getting into the chair, getting to the gate, navigating through crowds, finding an elevator, etc, etc. Frank did it all with the biggest smile a person could have,” recalls Alicia Grossi, the Northeast Regional Director of ALS TDI, who waited outside the park for the Provost family.
Despite it all, the Provosts were determined to make it to the game, as this was Frank and his wife Karen’s first trip together with their four children (pictured) to Fenway Park. Commenting after their long trip back home, Frank says, “The game went past 2:30am because of the rain delay and the entire family enjoyed every extra minute we got at Fenway Park. We are so grateful to the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball for making this family first possible.”