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ALS Association hosts walk to defeat ALS at Esther Simplot Park

About 20,000 people nationwide have ALS with thousands of new cases each year.
Posted at 3:41 PM, Oct 07, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — The ALS Association held one of their annual "walk to defeat ALS" events in Boise Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people showed up to Esther Simplot Park to take part in the two mile walk. The event helps to raise money to support people impacted by the disease.

Around 20,000 people in the US are currently diagnosed with the disease.

One family who participated in the walk knows about the impacts of the disease as well as anyone.

Tom Rivera and Heidi Peterson started dating in 2022 and married in June.

In February this year, Rivera started feeling symptoms he associated with symptoms of ALS.

“He noticed some fasciculations and some twitching in his arms," said Peterson, speaking for Tom. “After many many diagnostic tests and doctors appointments all summer long, received the official diagnosis on August 10 this year.”

Tom's disease has progressed fast in the last few months. Peterson says just eight weeks ago Rivera was able to walk and use his phone, now he uses a motorized power chair.

Peterson and her family were excited to participate in the walk to defeat ALS. They say the financial burden that ALS can come with is immense.

Fundraisers for the ALS Association, in part, help provide money for grants to families impacted by ALS.

Peterson says early detection is important for people with ALS.

"But early diagnosis is really essential and a lot of people need to understand what that looks like and get care as quick as possible," Peterson said.

For more information about how you can support the ALS Association, visit their website.