LHS grad to be recognized at Astros game for ALS awareness

Photo courtesy of MDA
Photo courtesy of MDA

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jeff Awtrey - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 1973 graduate of Lufkin High School will be recognized during the first pitch ceremony at a Houston Astros baseball game as part of Major League Baseball's efforts to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Barbara Underwood Adcock, who now lives in Sugar Land, was diagnosed with the disease in July 2009.

New York Yankee great Lou Gehrig gave his famous speech on July 4, 1939, in which he said, "today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He was dying from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which was an unknown disease at the time.

Adcock said she is very excited about the opportunity, as it combines her two passions, raising awareness of the disease and baseball.

"I just think it's a really neat opportunity and it's a great way to raise awareness of ALS," Adock said in a phone interview Thursday. "It's been a year since I was diagnosed with ALS so I feel it's a really special opportunity for me."

As part of MLB's efforts to raise awareness of the disease, people suffering from the disease will be throwing out the first pitch during July at all big league ballparks.

Adcock and her family will be one of four families on the field July 7. A representative with MDA said it has not been determined which will throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Adcock said she has always been a community volunteer and has even done work with Muscular Dystropy Association in the past year.

Adcock has already been forced to use a wheelchair as she has lost feeling in her lower body.

She said it's most important for people to know that money is needed to give sufferers of the disease a better quality of life and for research.

"Just so we have a better quality of life," she said. "Something to slow down progression of the disease is an awesome dream of mine. A cure would be great, which probably won't come in my lifetime, but so those behind me don't have to suffer and do the things that my family has had to do."

Even though Adcock has reasons to be upset (the average life expectancy of someone with the disease is three to five years), she remains positive. She said she considers ALS to stand for Attitude ("remaining positive"), Laughter ("I love to laugh and to make others laugh") and Support ("we are supporting each other on this journey").

Following graduation from Lufkin High, Adcock worked in the medical field before retiring and managing her family's land and cattle business. She lives in Sugar Land with her husband, Clif, and their teenage son.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association can call 888-HELP-MDA, mail it to 3300 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ 85718, or use the MDA Web site.

Copyright 2010 KTRE. All rights reserved.