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Walkers brave rain to defeat ALS

Metairie, La. - Every story is different but everyone is here for the same reason.

The Walk to Defeat ALS brought hundreds out to Zephyr Field Saturday morning, in spite of the heavy rain and a few hitches.

"With the power outage and no electricity and tons of rain, people still came out," says ALS Association Event Coordinator Chelsea Moreau. "We still feel like we had about 1,200 people like we did last year and they walked through the rain and despite everything, the ALS community still comes together."

ALS is better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

It leads to progressive weakness and eventually death and a person with ALS typically lives only two to five years after diagnosis.

Penny Abreo of Houma has been living with the disease for nearly six years.

"It affects everybody different, the progress is different," says her husband, Aaron Abreo. "It means a lot to see everybody come together and help each other out, you know?"

There is no cure for ALS and the one FDA approved medicine only slows progression by a few weeks or months.

The walk supports the 142 patients living with ALS in Louisiana and Mississippi, 60 of them in the New Orleans area.

Money raised at the walk helps purchase equipment for ALS patients and provides support for caretakers.

"They loan equipment to ALS patients and you don't have to give it back at a certain time," says Jennifer Jeansonne, whose brother-in-law has the disease. "It's yours until you don't need it anymore. They have done a lot for Michael and the other ALS patients, or pALS as they call them."

The money also funds research, to find a cause for ALS and new ways to treat it.

Though every story here is different, everyone who walks wants the same thing.

"Let's find a cure," says Penny Abreo.

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