San Diego, Calif. — On November 21, 2013, University of San Diego (USD) men's basketball will square off against San Diego Christian College (SDCC) at 7 p.m. in the first annual ALS Basketball Classic at Jenny Craig Pavilion to raise awareness of ALS and to give hope to the brave San Diegans who are fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease. The game will be televised on Fox Sports San Diego.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.
For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop and die from ALS as the rest of the population. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes ALS as a service-connected disease and provides financial and medical support to those with at least 90 continuous days of military service. Veterans with questions concerning their service benefits are encouraged to visit http://www.alsa.org/als-care/veterans/faqs-new-veterans.html
"We are enthusiastic about partnering with USD and SDCC to raise awareness about ALS, especially among San Diego's significant veteran population," said Tom Courtney, Executive Director of The ALS Association, Greater San Diego Chapter. "This first annual ALS Basketball Classic will be an outstanding way to engage the community in helping to achieve our mission of not only helping people with the disease but also finding treatments and a cure."
At the game, the following awareness and fundraising activities will occur:
- The first 500 attendees will receive a foam basketball from The ALS Association
- ALS Association signage and banners will be displayed at multiple locations
- Game tickets will reference the ALS Basketball Classic
- Both teams will wear ALS Association t-shirts
- The Greater San Diego Chapter will host an information table onsite
- ALS Association public service announcements will air throughout the game
These awareness opportunities during this game came about due to San Diegan, Don Casey, former coach of the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, who made several connections to rally the teams behind this important cause. Casey's mother died of ALS in 1969, and he has been committed to the cause ever since, having served on the boards of both the New York Chapter and San Diego Chapter. He currently serves on The ALS Association's National Board of Trustees.
"On behalf of the university, we are delighted to be partnering with The ALS Association and with head basketball coach Tim Cook at SDCC, to raise the awareness of ALS in San Diego," said Steve Becvar, Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships for USD athletics. "To take a basketball game and tie in awareness of ALS made sense, after meeting with Don, Tom and Tim. Their energy, commitment to the cause and willingness to engage this effort with us has been inspiring."
Cook added, ""We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with USD to bring awareness to this important cause
"It is our responsibility to come alongside those in our community who are fighting for their lives as we hope to find a cure for ALS."
About The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website.