Josh Thompson, who helped raise millions to fight ALS, dies after 13-year battle with disease

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man who has been a community staple in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has died after bravely battling the disease himself for 13 years.

Josh Thompson’s family announced the news Thursday. He was 46.

Thompson was the epicenter of the annual JT Walk in Virginia Beach, which raised millions of dollars for ALS research and recreational facilities for people who have disabilities.

Those facilities backed by Thompson include JT’s Grommet Island, a first-of-its-kind beach park and playground for those with disabilities, Camp Grom, a camp for wounded warriors and children with disabilities, and the CHKD Grombulance, a unique neonatal ambulance.

Thompson also spent the last 13 years raising awareness about the challenges and horrors of the disease, often referred to as Lou Gherig’s disease.

To date, more than $3 million has been raised to fight ALS by the Virginia Gentlemen Foundation. Thompson was a brother of one of the founding members, and he learned he had ALS just one month after the foundation’s inception.

This year’s JT Walk, which is virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled for next Sunday, Nov. 8. 10 On Your Side’s Bruce Rader has also served as a host of the JT Walk every year.

Thompson’s family will hold a private Catholic mass on Nov. 1. After the mass, the family’s friends and supporters can attend a brief remembrance ceremony and paddle out event at the beach in front of the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront at 3:15 p.m.

A cerebration of Thompson’s life will follow outside at the Cavalier Beach Club.

The remembrance will be livestreamed on the Virginia Gentlemen’s Facebook page and on the JT Walk & Beach Party Facebook page.

The family asks that, instead of flowers, people donate to the JT Walk, Josh’s Miracle Team. All of the money will be used for patient services and care for the people and their families that are fighting ALS.

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