On Major League Baseball’s Lou Gehrig Day this June 2, the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity announced that former Minnesota Twin Nelson Cruz was a finalist for the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. As a finalist for the award, Nelson and the Twins were given an opportunity to do something very special for an individual in the community.
Shirley Custard, a Minnesota Twins fan from Hinckley, Minnesota, and her husband, Steve have been married for twenty-eight years, have five children, fifteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In August 2020, Shirley was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and has lived every day since her diagnosis with courage and strength.
Before the Minnesota Twins game on September 26, Phi Delta Theta and the LiveLikeLou Foundation, with the support of the Permobil Foundation and local Minneapolis partners, presented a gift to Shirley: a brand new, custom Permobil wheelchair. The Permobil M5 Corpus Wheelchair is specially equipped with an electric seat lift and tilt function to make Shirley’s journey with ALS a little easier. And, because Shirley is a Twins fan, the chair was customized with Twins colors and marks.
During the presentation, Steve and Shirley were joined on the field by:
- Ashley Davis, executive director of the Permobil Foundation and Dan Kalk, territory sales manager for Permobil. The Permobil Foundation works hand-in-hand with the Permobil organization, the leader in manufacturing and distributing power and manual mobility devices for individuals living with disabilities around the world to help improve quality of life.
- Moe Stephens, General Council president of Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and Bob Biggs, LiveLikeLou Foundation trustee. Through the LiveLikeLou Foundation, Phi Delta Theta’s 170,000 members raise valuable funds and awareness for ALS and serve the needs of ALS families across North America with grants, volunteer programs, and scientific research.
- Jennifer Hjelle, executive director of the Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter of the ALS Association. For twenty eight years, the organization has served thousands of families facing the ALS journey in the region, including the Custards, through free services such as equipment loans, support groups, caregiver respite, home safety evaluations, and clinic visits with medical professionals.
- Chad Beiler, regional vice president and JP. Dirksen, area director of operations of Reliable Medical. A top medical equipment provider in Minnesota, Reliable Medical strives to improve the quality of life for individuals living in the communities they serve by providing high quality equipment solutions, service, and education.