VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Walk to Defeat ALS helps provide programs and services to families affected by ALS. It also funds innovative research to fight the disease.

Don Falk and his family joined the group of 450-people lacing up for good cause. Falk is diagnosed with ALS.

“It’s really a horrendous disease,” Falk said. “It’s very ruthless. It’s tough to deal with — a cure would be nice. This is a first for me, and I’ve only been dealing with this for about a year and a half. It takes some getting used to, but I appreciate you guys covering me.”

In Tuesday’s Community Chat, Digital Host Sarah Goode spoke with Christine Duque, managing director of development with the ALS Association. Duque shared information about the non-profit, the walk and more.

The Walk to Defeat ALS has been going on for 20 years across the country. Over time, it has grown into the ALS Association’s largest fundraiser of the year. In some cases, teams participating in the walk have over 100 members.

“(It’s) something our families really look forward to every year,” Duque said. “It’s kind of like a family reunion for the people that we serve. They love to come out and be with other people that are dealing with the same things that they are.”

It’s an opportunity to gather, and for families dealing with ALS to get to know each other. It is also a time for the community to rally around families living with ALS and show their support.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. According to the ALS Association, it “is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.” It is a fatal disease. There is still no known cure for ALS.

The walk is vital for people living with ALS. It brings awareness and also allows for funding of programs and resources for those affected by the disease. The fundraising efforts also support the care services, advocacy and research.

“We want people with ALS to kind of live life on their own terms,” Duque said.

While working towards a cure and finding new treatments, they also want to make the disease livable for people.

“In the meantime, we want folks to be able to engage in the world, right, however they want to,” said Duque.

WAVY Sports Director Craig Loper emceed the event for the second year in a row. 

If you missed the walk, you a can always donate on

ALS Association

The ALS Association is a non-profit that works to fight ALS. Since they began in 1985, they have worked to fight ALS in many ways. The organization roles include, global research, coordinating care and assistance, advocacy and more. To find out how you can get involved, donate or receive help, visit