Thousands 'Stogner Strong' at ALS walk

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Thousands showed up to the ALS Walk in Downtown Raleigh on Saturday (WTVD)

"I was thinking maybe 1,000, but it's upwards of 5,000 or 6,000, I am really touched by this," said Larry Stogner, former main anchor at ABC11.

Right along with organizers of this year's Walk to Defeat ALS, Stogner was just as overjoyed to see that many people turn out to help raise money and awareness for ALS.

In February, Stogner stepped down after nearly 40 years on the anchor desk shortly after being diagnosed with ALS. Since then he has thrown himself into helping researchers find a cure, even participating in studies. He and dozens of former co-workers and friends and family, donned bright yellow ABC11 t-shirts to represent our Stogner Strong team to participate in Saturday's walk for the cure.

We were joined by thousands who walked for those still fighting the disease or those who have lost the battle. Terry Oakley and his family walk every year in memory of his father-in-law, Dennis Myers. Oakley said his father-in-law passed away a few years ago and was very involved in this annual walk.

"If you look at the statistics you see that really it's the same number of people contracting the disease and so the numbers aren't growing that means the same number of people are dying from it," said Oakley.

This year, organizers say more than 6,000 people registered for the walk compared to last year's 4,000. They credit the spike in awareness to that ice bucket challenge that swept the nation. At the time of the walk Saturday morning, they had already raised 75 percent of their $400,000 goal.

Kara Strang, the Senior Development Coordinator with the Catfish Chapter of the ALS Association said 72 percent of the money raised stays local to help fund programs that help people cope after diagnosis.

"When you get diagnosed you don't know anything about it and there's a lot of things a lot of questions that come up and a lot of things you need help with along the way and that's what we try to be there for," said Strang.

The rest of the money goes to the national ALS Association to help fund research, click here for more.

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