KALIDA - The Continental Vs Kalida baseball game on Monday night was no ordinary game. Many of the spectators wore matching shirts. A special board gave recognition to ‘Inductees and Legendary people.
It was all part of Phaals Foundation started to bring awareness and support for individuals with Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) Disease. The founder, Jeff Swick, said this game is part of what his making his vision come true.
The dream began over a year ago on April 5, 2012, when teams from Leipsic and Fort Jennings played their first “Playing Hardball Against ALS” game in honor of Dan “Orson’ Mangas, Leipsic, and Gene “Yogi’ Von Lehmden, Fort Jennings. Both men were battling ALS. Swick, a former baseball coach, was close to both men.
The event was a huge success raising $7,802 for the ALS Association. This is when Swick knew his mission and passion. He wanted to do more for those fighting Lou Gehrig. Eventually Swick’s goal is to be in every Major League, Minor League, College and High School facility that promotes ALS awareness and supporters families fighting Lou Gehrigs Disease.
On Monday night the families of Carl Webken and Helen Unverferth, took part in the induction of two former Putnam County residents as Legends in the ALS Hall of Fame.
“Those who have passed are inducted into the Hall of Fame as Legends,” Swick explained. These families, like all those who have inducted into the Hall of Fame, receive special interest and support for physical, mental and emotional hardships while battling ALS.
Both families were presented a plaque.
“I’m really grateful for this program,” said Stephanie Hanneman. Helen Unverferth was her grandmother. Rhonda Osterhage, a daughter of Unverferth, said receiving the plaque on Monday night was overwhelming and very emotional.
“We didn’t know much about Lou Gehrig’s when mom was diagnosed,” Osterhage said. “This type of program is wonderful for the families.” She described her mother as a “fearless leader.”
“It’s a wonderful program,” said Lois Kahle, Pandora, whose husband Tim has Lou Genrig’s disease.
Swick said Monday’s game was the second of an eight-day schedule of games playing ‘Hardball Against ALS.”
He said the Phaals Foundation has three major goals. One is to provide support for the ALS individual and their families. Another is to provide scholarships for families to make a Hall of Fame member’s dream come true.
“We also see ourselves as brother of the ALS foundation,” Swick said. “We provide financial support for them to continue in their research to find a cure for this disease.”
Funds are raised at the ball games by the sell of shirts, raffle, tickets and refreshments.
ALS is a progressive disease that robss the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and eventually breathe. The disease damages motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Over time Lou Lou Gehrig’s Disease causes those motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord to shrink and disappear, so that the muscles no longer receive signals to move.
1 in 50,000 people are are diagnosed with ALS
Over 5,600 people are diagnosed every year with ALS
There is no known cause and no known cure for ALS.
Playing 'hardball against ALS'