Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, the entire Philadelphia Phillies' family — including fans, coaches, broadcast crew, players and their wives, and employees — teamed up for the 35th annual Phillies Phestival to help fight and defeat ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a devastating, fatal, progressive neuromuscular disease with no known cause or cure.
"The Phillies remain committed to helping put an end to this disease while providing patients and their families with compassionate care and support," said Phillies EVP David Buck.
Each year, the Phillies Phestival attracts thousands of fans and is a fun-filled autograph and auction party for all ages. Many Phillies employees volunteer their time to ensure the event’s success. The event once again featured autograph stations and silent auction, as well as the fan-favorite "Every Roll's A Winner" and Grab Bags. Among the fan-player interactions included Bryce Harper taking pictures with fans in the photo booth inside the new Pass and Stow.
The annual event would not be possible without late Phillies executive David Montgomery.
Ellyn C. Phillips, Board Chair, ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, called Montgomery's determination "legendary," even after his May 2014 cancer diagnosis. The 2019 Phestival marked the first without Montgomery; yet, his legacy and impact will surely continue.
"The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter and the Phillies have been partners since 1984 when Nancy and Bill Giles and David Montgomery believed our pitch that 'ALS belonged in baseball,'" Phillips said. "35 years ago, they took a chance on a little-known charity with $4,500 in revenue. ... David's life ended too soon; his memory will last forever."
Since adopting ALS as their primary charity in 1984, the Phillies have raised more than $19 million — including $768,020 at Thursday's rain-or-shine event. Raised funds are used to provide much-needed patient care and services for the The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
"All of us at the ALS Association are grateful to the Phillies players and their fans for another successful Phillies Phestival,” Phillips continued. “After losing our dear friend David Montgomery, this year’s Phestival holds a special place in our hearts."
"It means so much to us to know that the entire Phillies family, from the players and management to gameday staff and fans, all share the same compassion and commitment to support people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and to end ALS for good.”
This year marks the 80th year since Gehrig's famous farewell speech following his ALS diagnosis. Among those diagnosed with ALS who attended the event was Chuck Schretzman, who was diagnosed with the disease in April 2015 after 26 years in the Army and four combat deployments.
For more information on the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, visit www.alsphiladelphia.org.