Supporting research for ALS

The Tech Chapter of Phi Delta Theta spent two days in Nashville volunteering for the Live Like Lou Foundation. This foundation supports research to develop a treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease, more commonly known as ALS.

ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This is a degenerative disease that slowly destroys the use of voluntary muscles and neurons in the body. The cause of this disease is still not known.

Phi Delta Theta’s philanthropic cause has always been ALS. More recently, The Live Like Lou Foundation created new opportunities for brothers to get hands-on involvement.

Lou Gehrig was a professional baseball player who began his career in 1923 with the New York Yankees, for whom he would spend the next 17 years playing. Gehrig is also known as a notable Alumni of Phi Delta Theta and is recognized today for the modern name of ALS.

The Live Like Lou Foundation was created in Pennsylvania in 2012 by Neil and Suzanne Alexander. Neil Alexander was a brother in Phi Delta Theta as well.

“My husband and I started Live Like Lou as a grassroots effort when he was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Our cause at the time was to support other families and research in our region,” Suzanne Alexander said.

Since 2012, the expansion of the foundation has spanned across the country with the help of Phi Delta Theta. Millions of dollars have already been raised to support ALS.

When Neil Alexander passed away in 2015, his wife Suzanne took on the role of running the foundation.

“Today we are a national nonprofit. I run Live Like Lou from my husband’s desk. We raise money and we deploy volunteers. Our national philanthropic partners are Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Lou Gehrig was their brother and my husband was their brother too,” Suzanne Alexander said. 

Suzanne continues to work side by side with brothers of Phi Delta Theta to help as many families as possible. The fraternity provides administrative, financial and volunteer support to the foundation.

“Phi Delta Theta provides a foundation for ALS awareness and we are one of the largest donors to the ALS community,” Shilp Patel, Phikeia Educator for the Tech chapter, said.

Phi Delta Theta brothers volunteering in Nashville at the Live Like Lou Foundation. Phi Delta Theta works to raise awreness for ALS alongside the foundation. Photo by Brooklyn Driver

Tech’s Chapter of Phi Delta Theta worked alongside the Middle Tennessee State University chapter to help a family in Nashville who is directly affected by Lou Gehrig’s disease.

On Saturday, April 3, 2021, both chapters met at the family’s home to do some yard work. The brothers mowed the yard, pulled weeds, trimmed limbs and bushes and mulched the landscaping.

The brothers also set aside time to play with the children of the family and have a few laughs with everyone too.

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, both chapters met once again at the Nashville home to help with a fundraiser for Live Like Lou. The brothers set up tables and chairs and served drinks and food to the guests throughout the event. 

The brothers from Tech were recognized by the speaker of the event, Suzanne Alexander. 

“Phi Delta Theta works hard for us and they can see the impact they are having first hand. These young men absolutely hate ALS,” Alexander said.

The money that Phi Delta Theta has helped raise alongside the Live Like Lou Foundation is going towards a new research wing of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The scientist working in this new facility will research methods of treatment for ALS patients as well as work towards finding the cause for this disease. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Live Like Lou Foundation, you can visit  www.LiveLikeLou.org. To learn how to support or donate to local families affected by Lou Gehrig’s disease you can contact the Tech Chapter of Phi Delta Theta.