Happy New Year and ALS

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe that 2010 is almost over but i for one will not be sorry to see it go.  Please join me in a glass of champagne on new year’s eve drinking to a better 2011!  

I also wanted to send my good wishes to my father who was hospitalized early this morning for – wait for it – kidney problems.  He is at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis and sounds good – getting a bunch of tests and desperate to get out of there.  Hopefully he has just been too good taking his diuretics.  Water pills like Lasix make your kidneys pee out salt and water even if your body doesn’t have any to give.  It is essential for congestive heart failure  but can lead to difficult balancing between the heart, the body and the kidneys.  Truer words. 

I would also ask you to take a few seconds to read the info below from a colleague (Al Lewis for those of you in the health plan world) who is working to increase funding for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS (also known as Lou Gerhig’s disease).  The wife of a dear friend has this terrible, progressive, debilitating disease.  There is no known cure.  This (along with HUS and TTP) is on my top 10 list of conditions not to get.  If you can take a minute to support this effort, i would appreciate it.  Happy New Year.  Lisa


Subject: plz take 30 seconds (no money) to support ALS research in a unique and powerful way

Dear Friends of Al:

I am trying to raise money for ALS research, but I’m not asking you for money. All I am asking is that (for reasons described below) you go to www.whytheheck.com (my blog) and “like” the facebook fan page or put a comment on the blog itself, and then maybe forward this email as much as possible.

This free and fast simple step will help more than you could imagine as I try to get to 5000 “facebook fans” for my ALS advocacy project.

Some background: As a few of you know, I lost my second wife to ALS. (The whole story is on the blog now.) I would like to convince the Yankees to raise money for ALS research simply by selling Lou Gehrig #4 jerseys for maybe $100 apiece, and donating the profits to ALS research. Given the reaction from the 2100 people who have found my blog and “liked” the facebook page — and in many cases added their own stories of loss — the Yankees would sell a ton of ‘em.

This is the opposite of most fundraising efforts in that plenty of people are ready to contribute but they don’t have anyone to contribute to, yet.

The problem is that the Yankees don’t return emails from the general public. This is probably not because they are an Evil Empire as we Sox fans used to believe before we started signing all the free agents, but more likely because only about 0.0001% of those emails would contain anything worth reading. However, if I can get 5000 people in support of this idea, a PR person has agreed to approach them on our behalf.

The ironic thing is that we are not asking the Yankees for a favor. This is very much in their interest too. They’d have people all over the country wearing these jerseys, and almost everyone touched by ALS (about a million Americans have been touched somehow), would become Yankee fans. For instance, I would never wear a baseball jersey with someone’s name on it, and I HATE the Yankees, but both of those opinions would change overnight if they did this.

If you are one of the people touched by ALS, you could up your commitment to this worthy project by doing 1-4 other things too:

(1) Don’t just “like” the facebook page or the blog – put a comment on or add a photo or a remembrance;

(2) Write a polite note to dcarabello@yankees.com and tell him what a good idea you think this is;

(3) If you know any influential person in baseball or the sports media or New York media, forward this note to them;

(4) Many of you are in pharma — if you know of a project seeking ALS funding, send this to them;

(5) You could also listen to WBZ-AM 1030 January 3 in Boston between 9 PM and 10 PM at 617 254 1030 (I am doing an interview for this project and my book), or listen online at http://boston.cbslocal.com/ and call in when the ALS subject comes up.

That’s it. Although participation in this project should be its own reward, I would like to express my own gratitude in a unique way. Read the intro to my book at http://www.whytheheck.com/downloads/whytheheck-intro.pdf and if you like it and participate in the above project, you can have the entire book electronically, free. Just ask.



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