Achieving victories in spite of loss

May 10, 2022

Around two and a half years ago, following leg numbness of his wife Lynn, Gino Giovannelli said after the process of elimination, Lynn’s diagnosis only had one resultALS.

“We weren’t sure what it was really and we looked at it, it could have been one of 50 things and you slowly check one thing off after another,” Gino Giovannelli said. “Unfortunately, the only thing left on the sheet when we were done checking things off was the worst thing on the sheet and that’s ALS.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cords. Former New York Yankees player Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with the disease, and the nickname “Lou Gehrig’s disease” is commonly used to refer to the disease. 

Gino Giovannelli, father of junior baseball player Stefano Giovannelli, said following the diagnosis, the family was in distress, and the Park community came together to support the family through tough times.

“Ever since the diagnosis, we were devastated. We needed help as a family, and families showed up at our house and visited and brought meals,” Gino Giovannelli said.

According to head coach Brian Kelly, the month of May is ALS awareness month, and in Major League Baseball [MLB], ALS day is celebrated amongst the league.

“The month of May is ALS awareness month from Lou Gehrig, so they have a big ALS day in Major League Baseball,” Kelly said. “Major League Baseball partners with all sorts of high school youth programs, college programs around the country that want to have an ALS night.”

After hearing about the Twins’ Lou Gehrig day, Gino Giovannelli said he was inspired to bring the concept to the Park community.

“Last year, the Twins did Lou Gehrig day at a major league baseball level, so we took some of the ideas that they had and took it to a high school level,” Gino Giovannelli said. “We had contests, we had prizes, we had games, we had T-shirts, we had hotdogs, all those kinds of things, to make it a fun event for families to get together.”

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