MESA, Ariz. – Gretchen Piscotty was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in May 2017, with the debilitating disease progressing far faster than doctors expected. ALS has no known cause and no known cure, a neurodegenerative disease that eventually causes the loss of mobility, muscle control and the ability to breathe.
The Piscotty family did not go through this difficult time in private. Gretchen and the Piscotty family opened their doors to share this tragic tale, amplifying it with Stephen Piscotty’s status as a major-league baseball player.
The Pleasanton native was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals when his mother was diagnosed. He requested and was granted a trade to his hometown A’s to be closer to his mom during this time of need, when the Piscotty family and their close friends rallied to help a mother of three and a woman who supported so many for so long.
“My mom, when she was sick, was doing a lot of interviews where people were coming into the home, which was a bit uncomfortable considering the situation,” Stephen Piscotty said Tuesday. “She did that not because she enjoyed it but to help spread the word in hopes that others wouldn’t have to suffer.”
The Piscotty family has continued that effort since her passing on May 7, 2018, by creating the ALS CURE Project, a charitable organization created to help fight and eventually beat this terrible disease.
“We’re just trying to carry the torch with this charity,” Piscotty said, “and our efforts to raise funds and awareness.”
Stephen’s father Mike spearheads the effort and runs the organization, which is expanding its fundraising efforts.
“He had a bit of an ‘ah-ha’ moment where he decided what he wanted to do immersed himself in community and terminology,” Piscotty said. “It’s incredible to see how much he has soaked in. My job is to help and promote and use my platform as best I can. We’re doing a good job as a team, and he’s working on the nuts and the bolts and I’m here to champion it whenever possible.”
That time is now, with the first in a series of ALS CURE events coming up Friday at the Brandon Crawford Charity Golf Tournament in Phoenix. The Giants shortstop also grew up in Pleasanton as a star baseball player and, although their paths didn’t cross much back then, Crawford and Piscotty have become friends in recent years. Their fathers know each other, creating a link that prompted the Crawfords to donate proceeds of the event to the ALS CURE Project.
“I’ve gotten to know him quite a bit over the past few years playing against him,” Piscotty said. They’ve been so gracious putting on this tournament for us, really. It has been great.”
The Piscottys will host their inaugural ALS CURE Project Golf Tournament on May 18 at Orinda Country Club, and the Athletics will host an annual ALS Awareness Day at Oakland Coliseum on May 24 when they play the Los Angeles Angels. Funds raised during that game will benefit the Piscottys’ organization.
“It’s great to see the involvement from so many in and around baseball,” Stephen Piscotty said. “Our story, like so many others, has touched a lot of people without the disease in their family. We’re trying to bring more awareness to a very rare disease.
“We feel like we need to push in that regard because it really is devastating. It feels very underfunded in regard to a research community that could create a drastic impact with the proper resources.”
For more information: alscure.net.
To sign up for the ALS Cure Project golf tournament:https://alscure.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/ALSCUREProject1stAnnualGolfTournament/SponsorshipsandRegistrations/tabid/1129471/Default.aspx