JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – An estimated 20,000 Americans have ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, over 75 people right here in the Tri-Cities.
Hundreds gathered at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport Saturday for the annual Walk to Defeat ALS.
ALS is a disorder that affects the functions of nerves and muscles. A struggle 37-year-old Mary Bledsoe knows all too well.
Her husband Steve Bledsoe said it all started with numbness in her legs and constant falling. After years of testing, Mary was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, she now has trouble speaking but she says she is grateful for her family and friends as well as her physical therapist Sean Jared.
“She continues to show progress which is remarkable,” Jared said.
Mary said she didn’t know she was so loved. “On the bright side of this you find out what the people around you are made of, who’s really there for you, it touches your heart,” Steve Bledsoe said.
Michelle Morgan Blankenship and her daughter Grace walk every year in honor of Michelle’s father Don Morgan.
“We remember him everyday, every moment but this is our big day to remember him again,” Blankenship said.
While there is no cure for ALS organizers said research and education are key in ending this fight. The group raised more than $35,000 at Saturday’s event, money that will directly support patients in the Tri-Cities.
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