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Stephen Piscotty goes to bat against ALS in support of his mother

A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty is bringing awareness to ALS in support of his mother. (Getty Images)

ALS is a disease that will always have a connection to baseball. That’s because in 1939, New York Yankees legend and eventual Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig became the face in the battle against the disease after his startling diagnosis.

Prior to that, not much was known about ALS or its potential impact. That has since changed in a major way with an increase in awareness and research. Even still, the battle continues. And for Oakland Athletic outfielder Stephen Piscotty, the battle has hit close to home after his mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with ALS in May.

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Now Piscotty is looking to do his part to raise awareness and funding for ALS research by setting up a donation page along with his family.

The initial goal is to raise $5,000, though it’s undoubtedly hoped the donations will far exceed that number. Any little bit helps and will continue fueling the research efforts and the hope of those battling the disease.

“My mom was on board with it and we felt like getting something started would be a really cool thing,” Piscotty said told the East Bay Time at A’s camp. “It actually came about by one of my mom’s really good friends, who has actually been helping us a tremendous amount at the house. She is going to run a couple races and dedicate those to my mom, so we are just rallying around that to raise funding and awareness and also kind of use my platform to attack it in that sort of way. I’m pretty excited about the support we have gotten already, and we’ll keep going.”

Just the awareness Piscotty has brought and intends to continue bringing to ALS is invaluable. Also invaluable is the time the Piscotty family has spent with their mother this weekend in Arizona.

As Stephen noted on Thursday, his mother traveled from Pleasanton, Calif. to Phoenix in the family’s specially fitted-out RV and will remain there through Monday.

The timing worked out well with Piscotty’s A’s opening their Cactus League schedule and the youngest of his brothers, Austin, playing a three-game weekend series for St. Mary’s against Arizona State. His mother intends to catch as many games as she can before traveling back to California.

Piscotty also had a special message for the St. Louis Cardinals organization, thanking them for their support and for allowing him to be closer to home following a trade in December.

“It says a lot about both organizations,” Piscotty said. “Baseball is very important, but sometimes there are other things that may take priority. It’s heartwarming and humbling, and we are so grateful.”

For Piscotty, and for most players in MLB, it’s family first. In the business that is baseball, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that aspect or the possibility that the players and their families are going through struggles. Piscotty’s story reminds us why we shouldn’t lose that perspective.

If you want to do your part to help his cause, you can do so by visiting his Youcaring donation page. And you can do so by giving him a little support at the ballpark.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!