Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus and his wife, Kim, will lead an effort to support ALS research Jan. 17 at "Strike a Pose," a fashion show event featuring Chicago Cubs players past and present and their wives in looks from the 900 North Michigan Shops.
The DeJesus family, who moved to Kim's hometown of Wheaton last year, is facing the struggles of the disease firsthand, after a close friend of Kim's was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago, DeJesus said.
"(We) had never really heard about it ... In baseball, you hear about Joe DiMaggio playing with Lou Gehrig but don't (really) research (ALS)."
After some research, DeJesus said he and Kim realized it's one of the most devastating diseases out there, and wanted to help their loved ones in any way possible.
Kim DeJesus said when she first heard of her friend's diagnosis, she didn't know anything about ALS. "(When) we found out... I was just sick... I couldn't handle it," she said.
Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a fatal disease of the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. The disease paralyzes patients as their neurons fail, according to the Northwestern University Division of Neuromuscular Medicine website.
Typically, ALS patients develop symptoms of the disease around age 50, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine website.
"Expenses start adding up for families," DeJesus said, explaining his friend's need for a breathing system and inability to walk. "That is just another stress that adds on to (dealing with the stress of the disease) the person with the disease."
Kim and David DeJesus started the David DeJesus Foundation in 2012 to help families in crisis, and have been active in the fight against ALS to support sufferers of the disease and their loved ones, according to a press release
When they found out about their friend's diagnosis about three years ago, DeJesus played for the Oakland A's. In Oakland, they held a "mystery ball," where people could buy a signed baseball—signed by an unknown player—to raise money to help families affected by ALS.
“It has been a longtime desire to host a charity event in our hometown of Chicago ... We felt it was only natural to make our first fundraiser dedicated to raising funds for research, patient care and family support for those suffering from ALS,” he said in a press release. "We just want to see the most people there as possible. We're excited about it and about the help we can have for other people."
Kim said now is the time to raise money for ALS research, as more and more people pay attention to potential advancements in knowledge of the fatal disease with an unknown cause.
NBC’s Cheryl Scott will join David and teammate Anthony Rizzo as honorary emcees of the evening. Participants will include David and Kim DeJesus, Kerry and Sarah Wood, Darwin and Lindsay Barney, Shawn Camp, Tony Campana, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, Scott Feldman, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Ian Stewart, and Travis and Brittany Wood with the event benefitting The David DeJesus Family Foundation who, for this event, will be donating monies raised to ALS research.
"Strike a Pose" will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the River East Arts Center and will kick off the Cubs Convention weekend.
Tickets for “Strike A Pose” are $250 per person and $2500 per table (includes 4 tickets with reserved seating and table service). For more information or to make a donation, please contact 773.404.CUBS or buy tickets at www.cubs.com/fashion.