Tarheel Legend Steps Up To the Plate for ALS

Tarheel Legend Steps Up To the Plate for ALS

Dean Smith
Dean Smith is starring in spots to draw attention to ALS.

The 2nd Annual ALS “Field of Dreams” Black Tie Gala landed a big fish when selecting an honorary chairman. Former Tarheel basketball coach Dean Smith is going to bat to help make sure the fundraising event is a success and to help bring attention to this fatal disease. Besides being the honorary chair, Smith taped several public service announcements calling for support for research to cure ALS, familiarly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Smith shot his spots on the mound at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They will be airing in the Triangle during the next few weeks.

“We are very fortunate to have the support of Dean Smith,” said Jerry Dawson, Executive Director of the Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter of the ALS Association. “He has earned the respect of so many people, not just Tarheel fans, for the class he displays on and off the basketball court.”

The ALS Association of North Carolina is coordinating and sponsoring the gala. Capitol Broadcasting Company is a major sponsor and provided the production and airtime for Coach Smith’s announcements.

Smith has personal ties to ALS; he lost friend Skipper Bowles to the disease in 1986. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The later stages of the disease bring about complete paralysis but the mind remains unaffected. ALS has no remission.

The disease came to the forefront in 1939, when baseball great Lou Gehrig abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS. Others who have succumbed to ALS include Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, actor Michael Zaslow, creator of Sesame Street Jon Stone and actor David Niven.

Money raised through the gala will be used to help provide researchers with the tools they need to fight this dreadful disease.

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