June 1st, 2019, Capobianco Field

Play Ball! Roosevelt Island Strikes Back Against ALS: Tim Sheehy Softball Classic

Updated 2 weeks ago David Stone
Tim Sheehy Softball Classic 2018
Tim Sheehy Softball Classic 2018
Photo courtesy of Project Main Street

A reminder... "Tim Sheehy was a good friend of ours, and he died at the young age of 38. It was absolutely heartbreaking," Kristi Towey wrote. "His wife was pregnant with their first child when he was diagnosed with ALS. His daughter was only three when he died." I remembered my friend Mike, his losing battle, and was grateful to hear Roosevelt Islanders are doing something to fight back.

"It's a tough disease, Dave, but I'm fighting it," Mike wrote in the last email he sent me, about a year after he was unable to come to the office anymore.

That memory came back and resonated when I saw Kristi Towey raising money for the 5th Annual Tim Sheehy Softball Classic, set for Capobianco Field on June 1st.

Most of us heard about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord) from the story of how it wasted the life of Lou Gehrig, a seemingly unstoppable athlete who set a major league record for consecutive games played. Even Gehrig was no match for ALS.

But a team of friends who grew up on Roosevelt Island are doing what they can to soften the blow for families.

My friend, inspiration and boss, Mike Zep.
My friend, inspiration and boss, Mike Zep.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"The idea of both Project Main Street (named after Main Street on Roosevelt Island since that is where Tim and most of his close friends grew up) and Team Gleason," Towey says, "is that, since there is no cure for ALS, we can provide care.

The disease progresses fast and the needs of the patient and family caring for them change constantly. A lot of these needs are not covered by insurance. Funds raised at this event go directly to families to pay for what they need. In some cases, it’s making their home handicap accessible. In others, it’s buying communication devices."

You can be there for the game on June 1st, and you can donate now

We'll be writing more about this, the vigorous support of friends determined to do what they can to mitigate the horrors of this disease, about how roots on Roosevelt Island carry the message far beyond Main Street, but for now, mark your calendars for June 1st, the Tim Sheehy Softball Classic, at Capobianco Field.


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