In February, with his mother fighting for her life, Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty tried to make sure that some good came out of his family’s tough situation: He launched a fundraising campaign on YouCaring to raise money for ALS research in honor of his mother, who was suffering from the disease.
Unfortunately, Piscotty’s mother died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) Sunday night, less than one year after being diagnosed with the disease.
Though nothing will bring his mom back, the MLB community has stepped up to support one of its own during this difficult time. These gestures are particularly meaningful when considering that many people are familiar with ALS due to the fact that its most well-known victim was Yankees legend Lou Gehrig.
So it came as no surprise when the A’s announced they would match the donations made to Piscotty’s fundraising campaign, up to $50,000.
But that wasn’t all. A pair of famous MLB pitchers on the Cubs also felt moved to make sizable donations of their own to Piscotty’s campaign.
The fund’s list of supporters shows that Yu Darvish and Jon Lester each donated $10,000 to the cause. The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000, and as of Tuesday morning, supporters have pledged more than $44,000.
“An ALS diagnosis is never one that you are prepared to accept. Unfortunately, last May, this is the exact challenge our family faced,” Piscotty wrote on the campaign’s page. “We talked, we investigated, we read, and we rallied around my mom to ensure she was surrounded by the same love and support that she had always unconditionally offered us. We quickly realized that we were not the only ones.”
On Twitter, both Darvish and Lester confirmed that they had indeed made contributions to the campaign.
“We are all family:)” Darvish wrote in response to a user who asked if the donation had come from him.
Lester expressed similar sentiments, tweeting, “Can’t imagine what (Piscotty’s) going through.”
“Least we can do,” he said in another tweet.
Lester and Darvish weren’t the only ones to express their support for Piscotty and his family. The outfielder’s manager, Bob Melvin, and the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations, Billy Beane, also sent their condolences.
“Obviously as an organization and certainly the players, we have heavy hearts for (Piscotty),” Melvin said, according to ESPN. “We know what he’s been going through. He’s been going through it for quite a while now. He’s really close to his mom. We all feel bad about what he’s been through and what he’s going through right now.”
“The Athletics organization extends its deepest condolences to the Piscotty family on the loss of Gretchen,” Beane said. “She was a devoted wife and mother, whose legacy will live on through her husband, Mike, and their sons Stephen, Austin and Nick.”
It’s hard to even imagine what Piscotty is going through right now. But hopefully, thanks in part to the A’s, Darvish and Lester, researchers will one day find a cure for ALS.
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