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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For the 26th straight year, Pittsburgh residents gathered in Point State Park for the Walk to Defeat ALS.

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On Saturday, more than 2,500 people gathered for the 26th annual event, which hopes to find a cure for the disease, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Life expectancy averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis.

Photo Credit: Brian Grystar/KDKA

The walk was started in Pittsburgh by a group of family and friends brought together by the disease. The walk is now the ALS Association’s national signature event and raises millions of dollars nationwide.

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This year’s walk theme focused on a nationwide initiative called Unlock ALS, which unites walkers through their unique connection to ALS.

Photo Credit: Brian Grystar/KDKA

Every registered participant received a key attached to a colored lanyard. Yellow lanyards symbolize that the walker is living with ALS, blue lanyards showed that the participant is walking in honor of someone who has ALS, white lanyards are for those who have lost someone to ALS; red lanyards indicate that the individual wants to support the cause and defeat ALS.

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The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit health organization dedicated to the fight against ALS on all fronts – research, patient services, and advocacy. To donate online, visit