Ripken's record-tying ballgame benefits Spinal Muscular Atrophy


About 150 fans watching Cal Ripken Jr. tie Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played last night also contributed to the fight against Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Families of the SMA Chesapeake Chapter have sold 150 skybox tickets and celebrated their one-year anniversary at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

"We felt this game was an excellent opportunity to help educate the public about this childhood neuromuscular disease, while raising money to help children affected in our region," said Barbara Trainor, who established the local chapter with her husband, Eugene Trainor.

The Trainors, who recently moved from Hampstead in Carroll County, lost their 5-month-old daughter to the illness in February 1994.

From the sale of seats -- donated by several corporations -- and an auction, which includes a Ripken-autographed baseball, the chapter hopes to raise about $15,000 for research.

The illness, often called the childhood version of Lou Gehrig's disease, is the primary genetic killer of children under 2 years old and affects about one in 10,000 babies. It destroys the nerves controlling muscle movements such as crawling, walking and swallowing.

Much of the proceeds from the game will pay for research and help provide therapy and recreational outlets for area families.

"In the last year, researchers have come closer to finding the gene, which carries the disease," said Mrs. Trainor. "We also hope to increase public awareness about SMA."

Several corporate sponsors bought eight seats for $2,130 -- to represent the tying game number.

"We have had a lot of support from MCI and Dean Witter," said Mrs. Trainor. "ARA also is donating food to our event."

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