Woman, husband organize ALS walk despite his deployment

Couple plans first ALS walk in El Paso in memory of family member

EL PASO, Texas - This October, Ascarate Park will be the site of the first ALS walk in El Paso. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

It is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, ultimately debilitating a person.

Chyeanna Dirksen and her husband were surprised to learn there was no established ALS walk in El Paso.

Dirksen's husband, a soldier at Fort Bliss, lost his mother after she was diagnosed with ALS.

"It was important to my husband to be able to do something like this, to continue the walks that we started back in Iowa," said Dirkesen.

The couple has been working together to organize the first ALS walk in El Paso this October until he got deployment orders.

He is now overseas and will not be able to attend the walk.

"He's pretty disappointed but he's happy that I'm here to keep it going. He's deployed but he still has a lot of input," she said.

"He's not physically here. but he's still a major part of the walk."

Awareness of ALS has plummeted in recent weeks with the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' being done by across the nation by just about everyone including celebrities, athletes and coaches for both the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University.

If you have been living under a rock, this is how the challenge goes: If you are challenged, you have 24 hours to complete it.

You can choose to donate to an ALS organization or dump at bucket of ice water over your head. Then you can call out others to complete the challenge.

In many cases, people soaked themselves in ice water and donated money.

The videos of those drenched in water are showing up through out social media and making headlines.

"It's fun. This is something that people are enjoying doing, it's raising awareness," said Dirksen.

On Monday, the ALS Association reported more than $10 million in donations since July 29 because of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Compare that amount to the $1.7 million raised last year during the same time period.

Whether it is walking for ALS in El Paso for the first time or taking the ice cold challenge, Dirksen is pleased to know people are learning about the devastating disease.

Walk for ALS will happen on Saturday, October 11 at Ascarate Park, located at 6900 Delta Drive.

Registration begins at 9am and the walk begins at 10am. There is no fee to participate, but donations are welcome.

To sign up, click here.

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