ALS is a killer disease with no known cure. That's something folks in Grand Rapids are hoping to change.

Hundreds turned out for the 23rd annual Walk to Defeat ALS. Few people truly understand the illness, which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

"Hopefully increasing research dollars so that we can get to a cure for this thing and save folks like our friend here, Chris, who's just a wonderful person," said Bill Hegyi, walking to help his friend Chris Haner, who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago.

The ALS walk raises money that's given to local associations. Then, they turn around and give that money to research, victims and their families.

"My mom just wanted to convey how appreciative she is to the [ALS] Association... because they've provided a lot of physical things; a wheelchair, assistance with different devices she can get around with... but also they're very good at providing emotional support," said Sue Appleyard, who's mom has been living with ALS for a year.

Strolling along the Grand River, the walk does more than raise money. It raises awareness. Many people know very little about the disease nick-named after legendary baseball great Lou Gehrig. The illness essentially paralyzes it's victims. Usually within five years the disease kills. There's no cure and it doesn't discriminate between age, race or sex.

"We get to see the faces of the people with ALS, their family, their friends, their loved ones. And we really rally around all of the hope for the research to make vast improvements and find a cure," said Michigan ALS Association Executive Director Stacey Orsted.

For those affected by ALS the day's a healing experience of sharing stories.

"We met a few people on the walk. One had lost her teenage daughter to it. Another had lost her husband in his forties," said Appleyard.

For the victims themselves the walk is a reminder that people care and a glimmer of hope that someday, somehow, someone will find a cure.

According to the ALS Association someone's diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease every 90 minutes.

There were about 700 walkers out for the event; 200 more than last year. Organizers believe they will reach their fund-raising goal of $300,000.