Sciambi's dedication to ALS awareness endures

June 3rd, 2022

CHICAGO -- The bleachers at Wrigley Field were filled with fans sporting a blue shirt on Thursday night. On this occasion, they were not simply Cubs Ts, but ones dedicated to raising awareness on Lou Gehrig Day.

Across the chest was the phrase: "End ALS for Lou." The same T-shirt -- created by Obvious Shirts -- was worn by players, coaches and staff around baseball on Thursday. Over the past several days, multiple managers donned the shirt, too.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," Cubs broadcaster Boog Sciambi said before Thursday's game against the Cardinals. "Just the response from the managers and from the people around the game. I'm just trying to spread the word."

Sciambi was referring to spreading awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Yankees legend was inflicted by the illness leading up to his death on June 2, 1941.

It is a cause close to Sciambi's heart, given his personal experience with the illness. His close friend Tim Sheehy succumbed to ALS in 2007. Before his death, Sheehy and a group of his close friends, including Sciambi, founded the Project Main St. nonprofit organization.

"Lou Gehrig died 81 years today," Sciambi said. "If he was diagnosed today, he'd have the same prognosis. That's crazy. Think about, in our lifetimes, all the technological advances that have been made, the way our lives have changed. This is exactly the same."

For the second annual Lou Gehrig Day, the Cubs did the following:

• The team held a special 50/50 raffle with a minimum guaranteed jackpot of $20,000 to benefit I AM ALS, Project Main St., Team Gleason, The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter and the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

• Brian Wallach (co-founder of I Am ALS) and Steve Gleason (co-founder of Team Gleason) and their families were on hand to take part in the ceremonial first pitches.

• The Cubs also had a select number of items and experiences up for auction (through 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at with proceeds helping the Project Main St. foundation.

According to, more than 5,000 people each year are diagnosed with ALS, which comes with a life expectancy of two to five years. There is no cure for the affliction, which attacks nerve cells and results in a rapid decrease in motor functions and muscle control.

With Project Main St., the goal is to not only fund research, but to help families in need. Part of that includes providing equipment and helping fix housing accommodations. Above everything else, Sciambi said creating a community for families impact is essential.

"People dealing with this need connection," he said. "Their world shrinks, because their mobility and their communication gets reduced. That's the biggest thing that I realized about what our charity does. We help financially, but there's a connection piece that we're able to give them.

"And then I just get to think about my friend. The response is amazing."