Les Turner ALS Walk for Life steps off at Soldier Field

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Soldier Field was packed Sunday morning but it wasn't for a Bears game. The crowds turned out for the 2019 ALS Walk for Life, which was emceed by ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz.

"It can happen to anybody," said Emily Renolds who was walking in honor of her brother Trevor. "He lost his battle with ALS one year within being diagnosed. He was 37 years old."

Emily walks with a support system of people that show up for the walk year after year, and have been for 16 years.

"I'm walking for my mom, Andrea Vera. She passed away about a year ago," said Maricela Moctezuma, another walker at the stadium on Sunday.

"I lost my mother to ALS 10 years ago, my mother Sally, and I walk not only for her but for thousands in the Chicagoland area that are living with ALS," said Andrea Pauls Backman, CEO of the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is an incurable disease that attacks the nervous system, weakening muscles and affecting individuals' physical function.

"In the last several years there's just been an incredible amount of research and progress," said Ken Hoffmann, who lost mom Harriett to the disease about 17 years ago. "There is a long way to go, of course, there is no cure, but they are looking for medications that will slow down the disease and ultimately stop the disease."

Until then, they walk - for their loved ones, for themselves and for each other.

"We are all here to help each other," Moctezuma said.

All with one goal in mind.

"Let's raise awareness, let's raise funds and let's get a cure," Renolds said.
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