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Walk to Defeat ALS Draws Hundreds
It is a disease that has killed thousands of people and still there is no known cure.
A walk to defeat ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, drew hundreds to Springfield's Washington Park.
This year the goal was to raise $115,000 for the cause. That money will go to local patients and their families who are battling this degenerative disease.
Organizers say it is not just medical bills that rack up after someone gets diagnosed with ALS but bills for everyday living accommodations as well, especially once a patient loses their ability to talk and walk.
“There are communication devices that are an expense, modifications to homes and bathrooms and ramps, vehicles, transportation so the cost just goes on and on," ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter President and C.E.O. Maureen Barber Hill said.
Team Firefighters Local 37 were expecting to surprise retired Springfield Fire Chief Matt Helms with their dedication to finding a cure Saturday but Helms-- who was diagnosed with ALS in January-- died last weekend. His family says the support from the community since then has been overwhelming and at the walk it felt like he was still there.
“The day that he passed, I think it might have rained, but there was a rainbow over our house. And we told our son that it was grandpa's rainbow. So we're almost kind of wondering if we'll see a rainbow again and our son will be able to know that it's him," Helms’ daughter-in-law Terri Helms said.
Chief Helms was laid to rest on Thursday. Team Firefighters Local 37 was able to raise thousands of dollars for the cause.
The Walk to defeat ALS was organized by the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the ALS Association. The organization supports families battling Lou Gehrig's Disease in more than 100 counties.