- Doris Dunlap is a Tallahassee native diagnosed with ALS in March who has been the catalyst for a new ALS awareness event.
- Laps for Dunlap is a community walk set for Saturday at Leon High School to raise awareness and raise funds for ALS research.
- Watch now to hear from Doris on her diagnosis and one Tallahassee teacher who lost her husband to ALS.
I'm here at Leon High School where community members will gather Saturday to help others understand a disease that still has no cure.
It's called Laps for Dunlap, and it's geared toward raising awareness and funds to find a cure for ALS.
It's a disease that affects the nerves, and leads to loss of motor control. The ALS Foundation says someone is diagnosed with it every 90 minutes.
For Doris Dunlap, that moment came in March.
"It was a shock. We're getting used to it. It just kind of changes your life and everything you do."
Doris has lived in Tallahassee her entire life.
She's a Leon High and Florida State University graduate. She is a former president of the Chamber of Commerce.
After living an active life of biking, swimming and looking after her grand kids, Doris now uses a walker and hand controls to drive. She says ALS has made even the simplest tasks difficult.
"It had advanced enough that just -- I never would have guessed that I would have so much trouble putting on a pair of socks."
Doris was diagnosed in her 70s, later than the average age of 55.
But ALS can be diagnosed much younger.
"My husband James was 35 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS."
Kelsey Stalter is a teacher at Maclay School.
She says ALS awareness is growing, but still has a way to go.
"People with ALS are trapped in their bodies. Their minds work 100 percent. They know they're losing the ability to talk. The ability to eat. The ability to breathe. The ability to move."
The ALS Foundation says the average life expectancy of an ALS patient is three years. Kelsey's husband passed in 2012 at the age of 38.
For families affected by ALS or anyone interested in learning more, Laps for Dunlap is a chance for to learn about a disease that Kelsey called devastating.
The Laps for Dunlap walk will start at 9 a.m Saturday on the track. At Leon High School, I'm Alberto Camargo, ABC27.