Training Camp Community Corner: ALS Awareness

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One of the San Francisco 49ers most special traditions at training camp is the team's community corner. Every year, the 49ers host a space for important members of the Bay Area community such as educators, social justice workers, women's empowerment leaders and military members to cheer on the team as players train for the upcoming season.

On the last day of open training camp practices, the team celebrated "87 Day," an annual tradition that began in 2017 and honors the late 49ers legend Dwight Clark. Best known for "The Catch" which sent San Francisco to their first Super Bowl, the 49ers icon sadly passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease" or ALS, in 2018.

To honor Clark and his legacy, the 49ers welcomed individuals diagnosed with ALS and their families from Bay Area ALS awareness organizations to visit the team's final open training camp practice and celebrate "87 Day."

The honorary guests of Monday's community corner were the ALS Golden West and Augie’s Quest, two organizations that are dedicated to fight against ALS in many ways, including funding global research efforts, providing professional care management services to families, educating the public, bringing the ALS community together and ultimately, finding a cure.

"The joy that the 49ers bring to not only those affected with ALS, but their families is just incredible and it's spreading awareness for the disease, which is so important in our efforts to find the cure," Augie's Quest board of directors member Paul Sallaberry said. "What's really nice is the team is so embracing. This is like a giant family environment. Immediately when we came to practice, we were welcomed, put into a comfortable spot and it feels like we've been a part of this forever. Whether it's the alumni or players, they come right up and speak to the ALS folks and their families... Everybody is fully embracing of the ALS families. They leave here and it's such a boost for them. It's not a boost for a day, this will stay and create a memory that lasts a lifetime and it's extremely rewarding for the families."

"It's about community," ALS Golden West vice president Asher Garfinkel added. "ALS is a very isolating disease and anything that we can do to help improve lives for people who are living with this disease is really helpful to us and we can't do it alone. We need to do it with partners like the 49ers who help us improve lives.

"People who are living with the disease, their faces light up with the absolute joy of being able to connect with their community heroes and that makes all of it worth it."

View the top photos as the 49ers honored the career of Dwight Clark at 87 Day presented by Devcon.

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