Introduction of the LiveLikeLou Foundation2017
In late 2017, Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity announced the launching of the LiveLikeLou Foundation, a stand-alone 501c3 not-for-profit entity with a national scope. This a significant step to broaden its reach and deepen its impact on the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the devastating disease named after Brother Lou Gehrig.
Neil and Suzanne Alexander established LiveLikeLou in 2011 when Neil, a University of Pittsburgh Phi Delt, was diagnosed with ALS. Originally established as a grassroots fund within The Pittsburgh Foundation, LiveLikeLou quickly became a leading entity in the fight against ALS in Western Pennsylvania. The Foundation created awareness of ALS and assisted families in the community. In addition, it fulfilled a $2.5 million pledge to build The LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research, a $10 million partnership between LiveLikeLou and the University of Pittsburgh. The achievement became the most significant ALS research effort of its kind in Western Pennsylvania’s history. Along with success on the research front, LiveLikeLou also established a $1 million endowment for ongoing patient care in Western Pennsylvania.
Because Brother Gehrig said, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” when he retired from baseball on July 4, 1939, Neil Alexander was inspired and said, “I feel lucky too.” He used his energy, rallied his friends and family, and developed a personal mission to “Leave ALS Better Than He Found It.” Neil died from ALS in March 2015, leaving his wife and two children, Abby and Patrick, to carry on his vision.
Phi Delta Theta’s desire to further enhance and focus its commitment to the fight against ALS led the two entities to begin conversations. Together, Phi Delta Theta’s long-standing commitment to having a meaningful impact on the disease, coupled with LiveLikeLou’s successful model of advancing the ALS cause forward, can further drive Phi Delta Theta’s leadership in finding a cure.