By Jennifer Wentz of The Evening Sun
When Gettysburg College students shot hoops March 26, they did it with hopes of giving people like Louis DiGiacomo a better life.
Over the past two and a half years, the 29-year-old has fought amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The condition — better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — has taken away the once-athletic man’s ability to walk, speak and use his hands.
It hasn’t, however, taken away his smile or his spirit, said his mother, Karen DiGiacomo, who lives in North Carolina.
Since her son’s diagnosis, she has worked to raise awareness for the disease. This year, she decided to bring her cause to Adams County by reaching out to her alma mater, Gettysburg College.
The result: Hoops for ALS, a basketball tournament organized by Phi Delta Theta and Chi Omega, two of the college’s Greek organizations.
“There was no way we could turn down an opportunity with an alum and raise money for ALS,” said Andrew McCarty, president of the college’s Phi Delta Theta chapter.
The fraternity, he said, does a lot of work nationally raising money to raise awareness for the disease.
About 80 people paid $5 each to participate in Hoops for ALS, a co-ed basketball tournament. Proceeds benefited Project A.L.S., which raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, and Hearts for ALS, which provides support for people affected by the disease.
While most participants were college students, McCarty hopes to reach out to the larger Gettysburg community when the fraternity hosts the event in coming years.
DiGiacomo, who attended the fundraiser, said these kinds of events are crucial for raising awareness and funds so that people like her son can someday live better lives.