Herts rallies support for MND on Lou Gehrig Day

Herts rallies support for MND on Lou Gehrig Day

Last week, Hertfordshire residents and businesses joined members of the baseball community in support of Motor Neurone Disease research for a charity event at a sunny Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead. 

The fundraising event for the Motor Neurone Disease Association on Sunday 2 June attracted people from across Hertfordshire and beyond. They enjoyed hotdogs, home-baked cakes, and other food and drinks donated by volunteers and local businesses in a tremendous display of community spirit and support for a vital cause. The most intrepid took part in ice-bucket challenges.

(L-R) Pete Hogg, Hetty Smith, Mike Cresswell

Of course, this is a baseball club – so we had sporting challenges too. People of all ages and abilities joined in with a friendly softball match and other fun baseball games. Two of Herts’ British Baseball Federation (BBF) AA-league teams, the Hawks and the Ducks, battled it out in league games in front of a record number of spectators. Fittingly, they won one game each!

The event has so-far raised over £1,300 for the MND Association charity. It will be split between the national branch to fund medical research and the local branch to provide care and equipment for people in Hertfordshire living with MND. 

June 2nd is a significant date for Major League Baseball (MLB), as America’s top professional league marks Lou Gehrig Day each year in honour of the former Yankees star player, and the degenerative disease that bears his name.

MLB featured Herts Baseball Club on their global website in the lead up to the event and donated an array of prizes, including team hats, jerseys, and tickets to the London Series games between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies at the London Stadium, which were eagerly won by attendees. Other great prizes included a bat, donated by Baseball Outlet, batting cage time donated by The 108 in Brent Cross, and a softball signed by the Great Britain Women’s World Cup team, donated by BSUK.

Eyes down for a raffle winner

The event took on an additional layer of significance as the day drew to a close, with the breaking news that another sporting legend, former Rugby League player Rob Burrow, passed away from Motor Neurone Disease.  

Event organiser for Herts Baseball Club, Pete Hogg, who also ran the inaugural Rob Burrow Marathon for MNDA in 2023, remarked: “The generosity and enthusiasm of our volunteer team and everyone who chipped in with prizes and donations made the day a roaring success. I can’t thank them all enough. We are thrilled with the turnout and that everyone had an amazing fun day.”

“Rob Burrow and Lou Gehrig are both sporting icons who share the same tragic fate at the hands of Motor Neurone Disease, but will be remembered for generations to come as inspirational figures in their respective sports. The funds raised today will make a real difference in the fight against it.”

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Hetty Smith from the MND Association’s Hertfordshire branch, who was the guest of honour at the event. Speaking on behalf of the MND Association, she shared her gratitude: “The Hertfordshire Branch are immensely grateful to Pete Hogg for organising this event. Without the support of people like Pete and his friends, family, and colleagues, we would not be able to fund equipment for people living with this horrendous disease in Hertfordshire. Half of the funds raised will go to the National Office towards research funding which is hugely important. Events like this are also a very important way of raising awareness.”

Sweet treats

Herts Club President Michael Cresswell added: “We are grateful to the residents of Hertfordshire and beyond for their incredible support. Whether they attended, donated, or volunteered, their contributions have made a meaningful impact in our collective fight against Motor Neurone Disease. Herts Baseball Club plans to make Lou Gehrig Day an annual event and we hope to inspire other international clubs, players, and fans to get involved and make next year even bigger.”

The successful fundraiser not only generated significant funds for MND research but also showcased the growing enthusiasm for baseball in the UK. As the sport continues to gain momentum, events like this highlight its potential to bring people together for a greater good.

To support Herts Baseball Club’s fundraising efforts please visit https://givestar.io/gs/lou-gehrig-day-at-herts-baseball-club.