Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a debilitating disease that affects the lives of over 20,000 people each year. The disease, known for slowly weakening a body’s muscles and impacting a person’s ability to perform various physical functions, remains without a medical cure. Kevin Canterbury, a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, recently announced his pledge to become an Iron Phi, a subsection of the larger fraternity that helps aid Lou Gehrig’s disease research through fundraising and athletic events. Since its foundation, the Iron Phi members have donated over 1 million dollars to various Lou Gehrig’s research groups in hopes of finding a cure.
Kevin Canterbury joined Phi Delta Theta in 1997 while attending the University of Minnesota in Mankato. During this time, Kevin Canterbury and his fellow Phi Delta Theta brothers learned about its previous members’ fraternity history, including Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig, Hall of Fame baseball player and New York Yankee team member, was one of the first public figures diagnosed with ALS and brought national attention to the disease in 1939 when he was forced to retire from professional baseball at the age of 36. Since his passing, numerous Phi Delta Theta chapters have participated in Iron Phi’s challenges to raise awareness and funds for those diagnosed with ALS.
In October 2020, Kevin Canterbury and several other Phi Delta Theta officially became Iron Phi members after summited Mt. Humphreys, the highest point in Arizona. All Phi Delta Theta members hoping to join the Iron Phi initiative are asked to participate in a physical challenge to showcase their support for those diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and raise funds through the challenge to later donate to ALS charities. After hiking the 10+ miles to the summit of Mt. Humphreys on October 24th, Kevin Canterbury and his fellow brothers announced that each of the $1,000 donation goals had been met.
Kevin Canterbury recognizes the serious impact Lou Gehrig’s disease continues to have on thousands of individuals and their families each year. Mr. Canterbury thanks his experiences with Phi Delta Theta and Iron Phi for informing him on the complexities and severity of Lou Gehrig’s disease and, in the future, hopes to continue to help aid ALS aid through funding research, screening, treatment, and further education.