"They are not alone:" Hundreds take part in annual Walk to Defeat ALS

WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease knows no boundaries. It can strike anyone at any time -- and there is no cure. But there is hope -- as thousands showed up to take part in this year's "Walk to Defeat ALS."

More than 6,000 people gathered at Greenfield Park on Sunday morning, October 12th. They were all there to support different people who fight the same disease -- ALS.

"Monies raised stay in Wisconsin to help Wisconsin ALS patients and their families, so it`s like helping one of their own, helping a family member, helping a neighbor," said Melanie Roach-Bekos, Executive Director of the Wisconsin ALS Chapter.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes its sufferers to lose their motor skills -- and eventually leads to death.

This year, event organizers expected their largest crowd -- because of a viral video challenge that's raised awareness of the disease.

"We are so grateful to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge it opened the window and the door for all these people to become aware of what ALS is," said Roach-Bekos.

Susan Sellman's father, Gerald Bass, was diagnosed with ALS five years ago.

"It was very tough to see him going from just a vibrant active person to somebody who was really entombed in his own body," said Sellman.

Bass passed away in April at the age of 82.

"We were very lucky he at least mentally was able to talk to us, communicate to us but he couldn`t move at all it was very tough to see that," said Sellman.

Sellman is doing her part to fight the disease by participating in this year's run/walk to defeat ALS.

"This walk is so important to let people know they are not alone, there`s a community of love and support behind them," said Roach-Bezos.

The Walk to Defeat ALS raises $350,000 each year.