The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Chicagoans 'Take a Swing' Against Lou Gehrig's Disease at Daley Plaza

DALEY PLAZA — Wondering why people are beating a red Ford parked at Daley Plaza with a baseball bat Tuesday morning?

They're taking a swing against ALS.

The ALS Association's Greater Chicago Chapter teamed up with Louisville Slugger and others for the event promoting awareness of the crippling condition also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Tuesday's free event, which lasts until 6 p.m., is the largest annually for the chapter. 

"It's a very frustrating and devastating disease, so we want to take a swing," chapter development director Maryilene Blondell said. 

Cody McCall, of Lakeview, whose grandfather died from ALS symptoms, smashes the car Tuesday morning [DNAinfo/David Matthews]

Blondell said every 90 minutes a person is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes an ALS patient dies. The incurable, fatal disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and deprives victims of the ability to walk, talk and, eventually, breath. 

The disease, first made known by striking Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig in the 1930s, was in the spotlight last summer when the "Ice Bucket Challenge" social media craze raised $220 million for the National ALS Association. The cost of care for ALS patients can run more than $200,000 annually.

Lincoln Park-based General Iron and suburban North Shore Towing assisted with providing the car, Blondell said.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: