Fayetteville ALS victim being honored for her courage

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Michelle Hovis was a fighter. She died last month after battling ALS for nearly four years. She showed her family and friends the meaning of courage.

"Every time you saw her smile," said 13-year-old Brittany Hovis, "you knew her day was good. She was just happy to be alive."

Diagnosed in late 2011 with ALS, Michelle died last month a few weeks after her birthday. Her family says she never gave up even though the disease was taking its toll on her.

"I noticed that the week before she died the more she tried to do, the more she slept," said her husband, Mark. "The simplest things were just wearing down the energy out of her."

Mark says Michelle's ALS was aggressive.

She helped start Fayetteville's ALS support group. The chapter is holding a fundraising walk on March 28 at Methodist University in her honor. Already, ALS officials say more than 250 people have signed up for the walk.

"ALS support groups let families and patients know they are not alone," said Joanna Nunez, who is an outreach director in Fayetteville. "They can see people who have just been diagnosed all the way to people who are in the advanced stages."

ALS officials say there are about 600 people in North Carolina with the disease.

Money raised from the walk-a-thon will help research, and patient care.

Michelle's family says she loved life and people. She never met a stranger, and she put her family first.

"She did whatever she could to make us happy," said 16-year-old Nick Hovis.

Now, her family, friends, and ALS workers say they will make sure Michelle's legacy is not forgotten.

"She would want to be remembered exactly as she was," said Nunez. "A person with ALS that kept a great smile and attitude till the very end."

ABC11 would like to invite everyone to join us in the fight to treat and cure ALS.

Join our team called "ABC11 Stogner Strong" to help defeat ALS. The walk is April 4.

Click here for more details.

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