When Matthew Mondoux learned that a good friend had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, he searched for the best place to make a donation. He decided on CUMC’s Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center. To raise money, the army vet, who had served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, walked nearly 400 miles from his home in Grand Island, New York, to Yankee Stadium. Despite the summer heat, he wore a Yankee uniform with Lou Gehrig’s number, 4.
Mondoux ended his 13-day journey on Saturday, July 23rd. In New York City, he met with Major Bloomberg, who presented him with a Tiffany glass apple. In an on-field acknowledgement before the July 24th game, the announcer told the crowd of Mondoux’s generous undertaking (his comments appear below). Hiroshi Mitsumoto, MD, director of CUMC’s ALS center, and Regina Youngman, RN, a nurse practitioner there, were on hand to thank Mondoux.
Before we play ball today, we’d like to honor—and thank—a special person, Matthew Mondoux. Matt walked all the way here to Yankee Stadium from his home in Grand Island, NY—a distance of nearly 400 miles.
Matt was in the Army National Guard for 10 years, serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Joining him today is his wife, Shera, and their four-year-old daughter, Brynn.
It wasn’t enough that Matt served his country—now he has turned his attention and considerable energy to a good friend who five years ago was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Matt is raising money for ALS research and has designated Columbia University Medical Center’s ALS Center —The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center — to receive donations raised as a result of his tremendous effort.
Lou Gehrig, “The Pride of the Yankees” and “The Iron Horse,” retired from the New York Yankees in 1939 after learning that he had ALS. His wife, Eleanor Gehrig, devoted herself to caring for him until his death two years later. The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center was founded at Columbia’s Neurological Institute in 1987.
Hiroshi Mitsumoto, the Center’s director, says, “We cannot yet offer a cure for ALS or even reliably slow its progress, but our collaboration promotes the highest function possible for patients and the highest possible quality of life.”
As you can see, for his walk, Matt has been wearing a Yankee uniform with Lou Gehrig’s number, 4. You may not be able to see from out there in the stands, but he’s also wearing wristbands that people have given him along the way. Some are from people who have lost family members to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Various friends and family members have joined Matt for portions of his walk.
Regina Youngman, Nurse Practitioner from Columbia’s ALS Center, joins us to show our appreciation to Matt for his dedication to raising awareness of this devastating disease.
Thank you, Matt.