A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen, passed away on May 6, 2018, after a battle with ALS. The Piscotty family, led by Piscotty’s dad, Mike, has made it a mission to raise funds to one day find a cure.
Piscotty’s and the A's upcoming games against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday will have a special connection, as Rockies outfielder Sam Hilliard also has a parent afflicted with ALS. Hilliard's father, Jim, currently is suffering from the disease.
With Hilliard and Piscotty playing each other, Mike Piscotty's foundation, the ALS Cure Project, will be hosting an online auction featuring A's and Rockies memorabilia, with all proceeds going to the ALS Cure Project. The link for the auction event, which includes A’s and Rockies autographed bats, balls jerseys, bobbleheads, A’s 2021 ticket packages and more, can be found here.
The link will also take you to a GoFundMe page where you can donate as well.
“Obviously I wish we didn’t have that connection for obvious reasons, but when you are dealt that news, we found it comforting there were others going through it just so you can have someone to talk to and relate to about the struggles and things that are going on,” Piscotty told NBC Sports California on Tuesday.
They won’t be able to embrace one another on the field, of course, but Hilliard is familiar with the Piscotty family and knows their story well. Hilliard attended the Piscotty’s ALS Cure Project golf tournament during spring training that’s put on to raise money toward finding a cure.
“I knew about [Piscotty’s] story before my dad was even diagnosed,” Hilliard told NBC Sports California. “It’s a touching story for sure. I watched a little bit of their story that ESPN did, and it’s definitely sad and they just seemed like great people and I got to meet them at the golf tournament for the first time, but I look forward to getting to know them a little bit more.”
Hilliard set up a website to purchase T-shirts and wristbands in another effort to raise money toward research.
“There’s not a cure right now, but I would say there definitely is hope,” Hilliard said.
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The story of Piscotty's family is a sad one.
When Gretchen was diagnosed with ALS, Piscotty was with the St. Louis Cardinals. He would be traded to the A’s in December of 2017 in order to be closer to her, who was living in the East Bay.
It was one of those rare moments that showed this was more than a game of baseball.
The A’s themselves have made an effort to support the cause by dedicating a section of fan cardboard cutouts to be purchased along the first baseline for the ALS Cure Project. The cutouts can be purchased for $149 and come with an autographed photo of Piscotty.
“My mom was able to go on a drug that was approved out of Japan, but it had been the first new drug in about 20 years and it just feels like with a little more effort and funding, pretty significant strides can be made,” Piscotty said.
Piscotty also added they have already raised a significant amount of money toward the ALS Cure Project with the main goal being “why” and “how” this disease happens. All of the research is based on finding the disease mechanism.
“After my mom passed, our whole life was shaken up pretty good,” Piscotty said. “Obviously, my dad is incredibly passionate about finding a cure and he’s done a really good job, I don’t think I could have done as good of a job using my platform to bring about some change and some good, some awareness, he seems to have a knack for it. It’s been a good partnership in that regard.