I am Peggy Osterman

a friend of someone we've lost to ALS

Like Lou Gehrig, my dad faced his greatest fear with strength and grace.

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, my dad took us to many games at the old Comiskey Park. I can remember driving in with my dad, buying peanuts outside of the park, and, especially, cheering for Tony La Russa’s White Sox.

How fitting it is that the coach is back for the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day. I was driving my son to his own baseball game when I heard the devastating news that my dad had been diagnosed with ALS.

My mind went back to a time – as a very young child – when my dad told me about Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking. He explained that ALS was the worst disease he could imagine because the person was trapped in a body that no longer functioned.

Almost forty years later, that became our reality. However, like Lou Gehrig, my dad faced his greatest fear with strength and grace. He faced previously unimaginable indignities, fighting on so that his grandchildren would have an example of his “never quit” mentality.

He recognized that ALS gave him the time to take stock of his life and legacy, used that time well. Through his grit and perseverance, we saw him face the “worst disease imaginable” by living as the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I would give anything to enjoy one more day at the ballpark with my Dad, but instead will be grateful to be a part of something that may prevent others from having to face this horrible disease.

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