Gehrig Letter Expressing Optimism He’d Beat ALS Goes On Auction Block
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a time when Lou Gehrig was feeling fairly good about his chances against the disease that ultimately took his life at the age of 37.
Gehrig wrote a letter to his doctor professing his optimism that he could perhaps beat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – better known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease” — due to a drug he was taking that he said was making him feel a lot stronger.
That three-page letter, dated Sept. 13, 1939, is now up for public auction through Southern California’s SCP Auctions. Bidding began on Wednesday and will end on May 17, the Daily News reported.
Written on his own personal stationary, the Yankees’ Hall of Fame first baseman tells Dr. Paul O’Leary of the Mayo Clinic that he had been struggling to do even the simplest of tasks — like combing his hair and brushing his teeth — but added the 18 or 19 shots he had received had made him feel a lot healthier.
“I definitely feel the Thiamin injections are working nothing short of miracles,” wrote Gehrig, who died on June 2, 1941.
SCP Auctions vice president Dan Imler told the Daily News that the letter shows that Gehrig was battling the disease, but at the same time felt optimistic that he would win that battle.
“It really shows a lot of aspects of Gehrig’s character, his hope and optimism,” Imler told the newspaper. “It’s very revealing about his physical condition and circumstances that had been shielded from the public.”
Imler told the Daily News he believes the letter will fetch six figures at the auction.
“It’s hard to put a price on it,” Imler said. “I hope people appreciate its value. It gives a person a very personal connection to Lou Gehrig.”
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