ELY — The Crapola! World Headquarters in Ely is 1.12 million feet from home plate at Target Field.
How far away are you?
That is the question the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota chapter of The ALS Association is asking as part of its “Knock ALS Out of the Park” awareness and fundraising campaign.
A sign in the window of the Crapola! bakery at 16 First Ave., in Ely, denotes its “1.12 M ft” distance from the Twins’ home field in Minneapolis.
Such signs are cropping up throughout the state — from the First Avenue club in Minneapolis (1,291 feet from home plate) to Babe the Blue Ox standing next to the Paul Bunyan statue in Bemidji, which is 997,862 feet from home plate.
Crapola! co-owner Andrea Strom said she is not sure if the homemade granola’s World Headquarters is the farthest participant in the campaign, but it surely is a long ways away — quite a distance for a home run.
The Minnesota Twins — currently in the American League Division Series playoffs — partnered this fall with the Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota ALS Association chapter on the promotion.
The campaign includes a home-run selfie generator found at donateALS.org to measure a person’s distance from Target Field’s home plate. It uses a phone’s GPS to determine the number of feet, then overlays the distance on an uploaded photo.
Participants can then share the selfie on social media to encourage others to take their “home-run measurements.”
Strom said The ALS Association rolled out a similar campaign with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park a few years ago.
This season, the organization’s partnership with Major League Baseball landed in Minnesota.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 raised $115 million for ALS research and services for people battling the debilitating disease. This campaign aims to similarly raise funds and to “get people thinking” about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the New York Yankees ballplayer who was diagnosed with ALS at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and died at age 37 on June 2, 1941.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
According to The ALS Association: “A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. ‘A’ means no. ‘Myo’ refers to muscle, and ‘trophic’ means nourishment — ‘No muscle nourishment.’
“When a muscle has no nourishment, it ‘atrophies,’ or wastes away. ‘Lateral’ identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (sclerosis) in the region.”
A little more than 5,000 people in the country are diagnosed with ALS each year. Once ALS starts, it almost always progresses, eventually taking away a person’s ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and breathe.
About half of all people affected with ALS live three or more years after diagnosis; 20% live five years or more; up to 10% will live more than 10 years, according to the association.
Only four drugs are currently FDA-approved to treat ALS, and the estimated cost to develop and approve a drug to slow or stop the progression of ALS is up to $3 billion.
Strom said Crapola! was approached by someone affiliated with ALS fundraising. “He likes our business” and thought it would be a good location for “Knock ALS Out of the Park.”
She and husband, Brian Strom, who have been busy making limited-edition pumpkin spice granola, available by the pound at the bakery, were glad to participate, she said.
“We’ve had a few comments on it,” Strom said of the sign. “A few folks have asked about it. A few folks personally know someone with ALS.”
And if the sign raises awareness and gets people to donate, it will be a home run, for sure, she said.
Make that a 1.12 million-foot deep fly. That’s one heck of a dinger.