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Thousands turn out for walk to raise money to help find a cure for ALS

ST. LOUIS - Thousands of walkers headed to Forest Park on Saturday.  They were raising money to help fund research to unlock the mystery behind ALS.

“It’s just really rough,” said walker Adam Eads.  He was recently diagnosed with ALS.  His team of walkers raised $20,000.

“I have no upper body strength anymore and you’re told, I don’t know, five years down the road you won’t be able to walk anymore,” said Eads.  “It’s pretty tough to hear that.”

He no longer has the strength to hold his children.  He believes the diagnosis has been toughest on wife.  She broke into tears when asked what finding a cure would mean for ALS.

“We have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old,” said Kirsten Eads.   “It means him seeing his kids walk down the aisle.”

Denise Bell walked to support her husband Kenny Bell.  He was diagnosed with ALS some 5 years ago.  He can no longer use his voice.

“Well it’s a very debilitating disease. First it started with his legs and then he ended up not being able to walk and then his arms and then his speech,” said his wife Denise.  “He’s not able to talk but we have a speech machine.  He’s able to type and let him talk.   Thank god he can still eat and breathe on his own but down the line there are people who end up needing feeding tubes.”

While there is no cure for ALS there is hope.  A recently approved prescription drug is being given to some patients.

“We hope that will slow the progression of the disease,” said Maureen Barber Hill, President & CEO of the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter.

She said money for research is needed to find a cure.

“Since 2014 they’ve identified 5 new genes so there’s lots of hope in the research community right now,” said Barber Hill.

Anyone wishing to help can still donate.

FOX 2 was a proud sponsor of Saturday’s walk.  FOX 2’s Dan Gray served as the emcee.