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Hundreds to participate in Walk to Defeat ALS in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- This weekend, hundreds are expected for the Walk to Defeat ALS at BB&T Field including Harrison Anderson who was diagnosed last year.

"When you are diagnosed, they tell you the truth, you have two to five years of life expectancy," said Anderson, who first discovered something was wrong when his hand started to go weak in the summer of 2015. Anderson said after he was diagnosed he dealt with depression for four months. After digesting what he was dealing with he decided he wasn't going to sit down.

"You can't dwell on it, it's a constant reminder that my hands are getting weak so you can't just ignore it but you can't just lie down and wait for something bad to happen," he said.

The local Realtor kept moving forward, went back to work and formed a team at the Defeat ALS Walk, raising $12,000 in just a few weeks. Money raised helps in creating grants for research and funding treatment clinics like the ALS Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

"[Patients] get therapy all in one place," said Dr. James Caress, director of the ALS Center. "All their therapy can be accomplished in one day to meet everybody's needs."

Caress says thanks to donations from fundraisers and walks, the ALS Center is able to not only provide patients with all their therapy in one place but provide medical equipment and assistance they may need.

Currently, ALS affect about 500 people in North Carolina. Caress says gene therapy and a new drug from Japan, approved last week, is providing hope in slowing ALS down.

"The future is really bright, a lot of things in the pipe line and the gene therapy, I think, is going to be very powerful," Caress said.

Anderson is also a part of several studies being conducted at WFU Baptist Medical Center to hopeful find more answers into slowing ALS down.

If you would like to help take some steps to help the Walk to Defeat ALS is Saturday at BB&T Field starting at 9 a.m.