Neil Alexander was a devoted husband, father, brother, and friend. A lawyer, life-long Pittsburgh Pirates fan, brother of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and unabashed devotee of Neil Diamond. In 2011, at the age of 47, Neil was diagnosed with the fatal disease ALS. Three years later he died from it.
But that's not the end of Neil's story. Neil was determined – from the moment he heard the words 'You have ALS' - that his certain death from the disease would not be his final chapter. Like his hero and Phi Delta Theta brother Lou Gehrig before him, Neil wanted his young children, Abby and Patrick, to remember him as courageous, strong, and most importantly grateful for the life that he had lived.
Along with his wife Suzanne, and hundreds of family and friends, Neil established the grassroots effort LiveLikeLou in 2012. Through scores of lemonade stands, bike-a-thons, golf outings, swimming events, and parties, they raised more than $4 million. With their funds they helped establish the $10 million LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research at The University of Pittsburgh's Brain Institute and an endowment to provide significant grants to ALS patients and their families in Western Pennsylvania. Neil always understood that the LiveLikeLou effort would not help save his own life, but he wanted his lasting legacy to be that he left ALS better than he found it.
Today the spirit of LiveLikeLou has evolved into the national, standalone non-profit entity The LiveLikeLou Foundation, under the direction of Suzanne, its board, and in close partnership with the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, whose major philanthropic cause has always been ALS.
ALS is a progressively degenerative neuromuscular disease that often begins with muscle twitching, wasting, or weakness in the limbs or as slowed speaking or swallowing. According to the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of ALS, approximately 14,000 - 15,000 Americans live with the disease and roughly as many people are diagnosed each year as die from it. Life expectancy after diagnosis is 2 – 5 years, and it is essentially 100% fatal.
Because of the relentless nature of the disability that comes with ALS, patients typically face an overwhelming challenge of physical, emotional, economic, and family strain. The entire unit of a family, circle of friends, neighbors, and community are often heavily relied upon to live with ALS.
Despite the scientific discovery of ALS nearly 150 years ago, scientists are still years away from finding a treatment or a cure.
LiveLikeLou believes this is unacceptable.
This is why we are committed to ‘Leaving ALS Better Than We Found It.’
New York Yankees first baseman and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig was an American sports icon long before he retired from baseball 1939. Gehrig’s modest New York upbringing by two German immigrants, his physical prowess, early accomplishments at Columbia University, incredible performance on the field, heroic lifetime batting average of .340 with 1990 RBIs over a record 2,130 consecutive games, earned him the nickname 'The Iron Horse' – a respectful term reserved for the remarkably durable, reliable and strong. And he was humble.
But it was his reaction to his greatest challenge – the fatal diagnosis of ALS – that made Gehrig a household name and a beacon of strength for all those facing the disease.
Gehrig pulled himself out of the game just days after his diagnosis, and on July 4, 1939, in front of a packed Yankees stadium delivered arguably the most famous speech in the history of American sports - 'The Luckiest Man.' The disease kept him from holding the trophies handed to him that day... his arms were weak so he set them on the ground. The disease forced him from the game he loved. And he knew the disease would take his life. It was Gehrig's courage, humility ...and mostly it was his deep sense of gratitude in the face of what had to be profound sorrow for all that he was about to lose...that propelled him into history.
This moment made the Iron Horse a role model for every person facing a challenge and everyone who has ever loved anyone with ALS.
He is the reason we choose to LiveLikeLou.
Hall of Famer first baseman Lou Gehrig became a Phi Delta Theta brother during his days at Columbia University. Ever since, the Fraternity has been proud to claim Gehrig as their own and has raised millions in support of the cause of ALS on their campuses and on a international scale. In 2010 the Iron Phi Program was launched, providing individual brothers an opportunity to strengthen the impact they have on the fight against Lou Gehrig's disease by achieving an athletic endeavor and raising at least $1,000. Today nearly 800 Phi Delts have accomplished their Iron Phi goal and $1.5 million has been raised along the way!
In 2018 Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the grassroots organization LiveLikeLou, founded by Phi Delt Brother Neil Alexander, joined forces to launch 'The LiveLikeLou Foundation,' a stand-alone 501c3 not-for-profit entity with a national scope and a renewed purpose:
Raise awareness of ALS
Raise funds to support ALS patients and their families
Raise funds for a treatment or a cure
Phi Delt Brother Lou Gehrig said, 'Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,' when he retired from baseball on July 4, 1939 due to ALS. Phi Delt brother and LiveLikeLou founder Neil Alexander was inspired and said, 'I feel lucky too,' when he faced the same disease nearly 80 years later. Both men lived their lives with courage, strength, and gratitude. And both men died from a disease that needs a cure.
W. L. Gray is founder and a principal of Goodpasture Gray, an S.E.C. Registered Investment Advisory Firm, with offices in Houston and Nashville. He has more than 40 years of Wall Street experience serving as a Senior Vice President of major Wall Street firms, most notably Drexel Burnham Lambert and Kidder Peabody, in both New York and Texas.
Through the years W.L has devoted much of his time to the advancement of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, after becoming a brother of Texas Zeta Chapter of Texas Christian University. He served in significant leadership roles with the local alumni club, the chapter at The University of Texas at Austin, as chairman of the Chapter Advisory Board. W. L. was appointed a Trustee of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation in 2003 and Chairman of the Board 2007 through 2013. He has also served in board leadership roles with St. Paul’s United Methodist church of Houston’s Foundation, The McDonald Observatory, The University Of Texas College Of Natural Science, and the The ALS Association of Texas.
W.L. and his wife Lynn live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have three sons, Sean, Will and Kyle, and one daughter, Shannon.
Gaylon Morris has over 20 years of experience working in public health, public policy, and alliance development—for both the public and private sectors. In this capacity, Gaylon brings a unique perspective of how health policy and alliance development can successfully emerge.
In 2010, Gaylon launched MorSolutions, a public affairs firm specializing in advocacy and alliance development. Gaylon also serves as a policy advisor to The Conafay Group, focusing primarily on advocacy and alliance development efforts. Prior to this, Gaylon set the advocacy agenda for a major research-based pharmaceutical company, and helped forge strategic alliances with major national and international health policy associations, professional societies, and patient advocacy groups, around patient education and health policy initiatives, with non-traditional partners as well as Federal government agencies. Over the years Gaylon has also consulted with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a variety of public policy and public health advisory positions.
Gaylon is a brother of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and his holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Southwestern University, a Master in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Arts in Literature from Georgia State University.
Gaylon lives with his husband Rick Kinsey and dog Arthur in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania.
Greyson was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and is a Phi Delta Theta brother of the Nebraska Alpha Chapter at The University of Nebraska. Greyson began his career in the financial industry at the commodity exchanges in Chicago and today is a Registered Investment Advisor for Andorra Capital, LLC providing wealth management advice for his clients.
Greyson is a longtime volunteer for the cause of ALS, and served on the Board of The ALS Association Arizona Chapter for several years.
Greyson lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Oksana and daughters Alanna and Regina.
Dr. Chris W. Brussalis is President and CEO of The Hill Group, Inc., a national management consulting firm founded in 1953, specializing in strategy, operations, and measurement. The Hill Group serves a wide range of private and public sector clients, including large corporations, institutions, nonprofits, and governments. Dr. Brussalis is also Adjunct Professor of Management and Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University where he has been teaching at the graduate level for over twenty-five years.
Dr. Brussalis serves on several civic and corporate boards, including Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity (President), Phi Delta Theta Foundation, American Society for Competitiveness, Point Park University, Regional Learning Alliance (Chairman), Leadership Pittsburgh (Past Chairman), and Eberly College of Business at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In recognition of his commitment to civic engagement and service, Dr. Brussalis was appointed by Pennsylvania’s Governor to serve on the Commonwealth’s Small Business Council and was one of 100 distinguished American leaders selected by the Secretary of the Air Force to attend the National Security Forum. He also served on the boards of the National ALS Association (Chairman of Public Policy and Advocacy, Executive Committee), Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall (President), CentraComm Communications, Institute of Management Consultants for Western Pennsylvania (Vice President), Annual Fund of Allegheny College (Chairman), CONTACT Pittsburgh, Waynesburg University MBA and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, and Rotary International.
Dr. Brussalis was named a distinguished alumnus of Allegheny College, one of the Pittsburgh region’s Fast Trackers, Top 20 Changemakers, 40 Under 40, and Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest. He resides in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, with his wife Christina and children Katherine, Sophia, William, and Isabella.
Suzanne Alexander is the Director of The LiveLikeLou Foundation and holds a permanent board position in recognition of her founding role with the grassroots effort LiveLikeLou which she started with her husband, Phi Delta Theta brother Neil Alexander, upon his diagnosis of ALS in 2011. The couple, along with hundreds of family and friends, helped to raise more than $4 million in five years, launched The LiveLikeLou Center for ALS Research at The University of Pittsburgh’s Brain Institute, and established a permanent endowment to support ALS patients and their families in Western Pennsylvania. Prior to this, Suzanne served as a volunteer board member and capital campaign leader to raise $12 million and open the doors of the new Lauri Ann West Community Center, and the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in her neighborhood. Her early business experience includes serving in executive leadership, management consulting, and communications for multiple regional manufacturing and distribution companies.
Suzanne is a California native, happily raising her children Abby and Patrick in her adopted Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Steve Good is the Vice President of Growth & Communications for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and is tasked with overseeing the growth and communications strategies of the Phi Delta Theta strategic plan, Phi Delt 2020, as well as the Iron Phi program through The LiveLikeLou Foundation. The paramount responsibility of this position is to promote and market the value of membership to current and potential members while engaging other stakeholders through traditional communication channels and new and innovative technologies.
Steve spent his undergraduate days at Iowa State University, completed his MBA at Xavier University, is a graduate of Leadership Iowa and completed a Digital Marketing certification program at the University of Illinois. Steve volunteers as the Chapter Advisory Board Chairman for the Iowa Gamma Chapter at Iowa State University.
Steve and his wife Tillie live in Ames, Iowa with their son Calvin, daughter Tess and two rescue dogs.