Despite rain, thousands pack Greenfield Park for Walk to Defeat ALS

WEST ALLIS -- Rain did not stop thousands of people from packing Greenfield Park Sunday morning, October 14th for the Walk to Defeat ALS.

Jim Eutizzi was one of 6,000 who came together Sunday morning to raise money and awareness to help fight ALS.

ALS is a neuro-degenerative disease with no cure. Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.

When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Eutizzi was diagnosed two years ago and says the walk gives him hope.

"It picks you right up. I`m an optimist anyway and I`m all about hope in the future and living for the day," Eutizzi said.

Eutizzi first felt symptoms of the disease five years ago.  It started with cramps in his hand and has since progressed.

"It`s reality. We've got to face reality and what we`re dealing with," Eutizzi said.

Eutizzi says he finds support in his family and friends.

"We always hope for the best.  Hope and believe," Eutizzi's sister, Linda Williams said.

This year's goal was to raise $400,000 to help fight ALS.

"ALS is a really isolating disease that robs the patient of their ability to communicate with the outside world and events like this show them they are not alone," ALS Associate Executive Director Melanie Bekos said.

Eutizzi says the walk is a uniting force for those fighting ALS.

"To me, it's all about living for the day. Despite this, you've got to take life as it comes," Eutizzi said.

FOX6's Brad Hicks emceed the Walk to Defeat ALS. Brad's brother was diagnosed with ALS two years ago.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the Walk to defeat ALS.

CLICK HERE for additional information on ALS.