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Jermain Taylor raises awareness for ALS

Sunday, Arkansas boxing legend Jermain Taylor stepped onto the pitcher's mound at Dickey-Stephens Park to throw out the first pitch, raising awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Sunday, Arkansas boxing legend Jermain Taylor stepped onto the pitcher's mound at Dickey-Stephens Park to throw out the first pitch, raising awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

But, the real star was the man joining Taylor on the field, a Pine Bluff man determined to find a cure for ALS, a disease he's lived with since 2008.

Robert Cobbs lives with ALS, a neuromuscular disease that attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles.
When the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked Cobbs to raise ALS awareness at Sunday's Travs game, he couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"I said I probably couldn't pitch it like I could last year, but this year, they said Jermain Taylor would throw it, I could give it to him, I said I could do that," said Cobbs.

In the past year, ALS has impacted Cobbs' pitching arm, so Taylor stepped up with the assist on the mound.

"Feels good, you know, any time you can help out, especially a guy who can't throw the pitch out himself, you know, when they asked me to do it, couldn't turn it down," says Taylor.

"Boxing, he looks a lot bigger, I said, man, but he's a nice guy. Real nice," said Cobbs of Taylor.

"How do you think he did?" asked FOX16's Kelly Dudzik.

"He did good. He threw a strike. He said he used to pitch," said Cobbs.

"That pitch is a long way whether you know it or not, you know, it's, I couldn't get my mind right. I didn't lose any sleep over it," said Taylor.

Taylor's appearance is part of ALS awareness month, and Cobbs, who comes to Little Rock for treatment, wants to give hope to others.

"It's real good to show that you can still do things even though we're going through a tragic situation. Just pray about it and enjoy your life while you can," says Cobbs.

"He's been an associate at Haverty's there in Pine Bluff for like over 20 years, and he's been the number one salesman for so many years and that's because he has such a contagious personality," says the MDA's Erica Dierich.

To raise awareness even more, the MDA had a whole table set up for the whole game where you could grab an MDA-ALS pin, or even a hat to take home with you.

So, what did Cobbs think of meeting the star athlete in person for the first time?

"I told him I could take him in three rounds. But I'd lose wind after that," said Cobbs.

And, Taylor wants his hometown fans to know what he's been up to.

"I'm training hard, and I love you Arkansas, still my state and I will be back in top," says Taylor.

To date, the MDA has invested more than 290-million dollars in its ALS research, services and information programs. Some of the money goes to help people right here in Arkansas at MDA's ALS clinic in Little Rock.
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