Red Sox

Chris Snow defies odds, throws first pitch for 40th birthday

Chris Snow, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2019, was told he only had a year to live. 27 months later, he threw the first pitch before Thursday's Red Sox-Rays game.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Snow and his wife have actively been building a community to raise awareness for ALS and to support those also struggling with the disease. John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

For Chris Snow, throwing a first pitch at a Red Sox game for his 40th birthday seemed an impossible task two years ago. When the Calgary Flames assistant general manager and former Boston Globe sports reporter was first diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2019, he was told he had a year to live. 

On Thursday evening, Snow threw the first pitch, accompanied by his family, his son who was also celebrating his 10th birthday, daughter Willa and his wife, Kelsie. 

“It’s a homecoming and it’s a triumph,” Snow told the Globe. “To do this, to walk in here, it feels so, so good.”

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Snow first announced his ongoing physical condition in an open letter on NHL.com, describing his journey thus far and entry into a clinical trial that was possible due to a genetic mutation that only affects 1-2 percent of ALS patients and had run in his family. Prior to Snow, four other family members had also passed away from ALS. 

Since entering the clinical trial, Snow’s condition has mostly stalled. According to the Globe, however, he has lost use of his right hand as well as muscles in his face that no longer permit him to smile, and he has difficulty speaking. Swallowing food has also become a challenge. 

But Snow and his family have adapted to the challenges that having ALS brings. After learning about the diagnosis, Kelsie Snow, also a former Boston Globe intern where the two met, began a blog, Kelsie Snow Writes.

“There’s nothing different in our daily lives,” Snow said. “To be able to say that, that’s unheard of with this disease.”

Snow and his wife have actively been building a community to raise awareness for the disease and to support those also struggling with ALS. They have also received support from their surrounding communities. The Flames organized the Snowy Strong for ALS campaign to provide donations toward ALS research.

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Snow was diagnosed 26 months ago, but has defied odds, living much longer than the usual life expectancy for Snow’s type of ALS, for which life expectancy spans from six to 18 months. In a tribute to his 40th birthday, Kelsie Snow described the miracle of her husband continuing to live his life. 

“This is not a small thing…” she wrote. “This is about being one of the first people to survive ALS. This is about a miracle. The medicine is a miracle, of course, but so are you.”

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