My high school friend Hiro Fujita was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in late 2010, and ever since then he has quickly lost the ability to control his entire body, with the exception of one finger. When Hiro became sick he was working as a strategic planner at the Japan branch of the ad agency McCann Erickson. Throughout his battle, the agency has been supporting him by launching a pretty comprehensive campaign to raise awareness around ALS with Hiro as a willing and determined poster child, designing t-shirts and launching a video series featuring some famous friends of ours — this one features the guitarist Char — speaking on behalf of Hiro.
When Hiro was healthy he played football and had many friends and partied like a rock star. Clearly, even with this debilitating disease, he hasn’t lost his rock star status — it’s the first time since football games and prom that I’ve seen all of our wonderful friends from Tokyo rally around a cause with such fervor, and he’s triggered a successful and impact-filled campaign against a very poorly understood disease with the support of some of the most high-profile, compassionate people in our community.