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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh has been long known for its charitable efforts. This weekend was a perfect example of that.
Nearly 5,000 people took to the streets of the Steel City to raise money for two very different causes.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was aiming to raise $250,000 with its event at Highmark Stadium. However, they blew right past that goal and raised closer to $300,000.
“Suicide unfortunately is the No. 10 cause of death in the United States, and these suicide deaths, many of them can be prevented,” Jennifer Sikora, of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said.
Many people at the walk know the pain from first-hand experience.
“We lost our son back in 2014. This is something we get together and do each year. Kind of a memory thing and raise awareness,” Belinda McGuire said.
Across the river at Point State Park, the 26th edition of the Walk to Defeat ALS was held. The Pittsburgh event was the spark for walks just like it across the country.
“Our top fundraising team has raised $40,000 this year,” Merritt Spier, of the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania, said.
The group worked to raise $450,000 this year for care, research, and advocacy in the battle against ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. While few would choose to know someone living with the disease, other walkers give them critical support.
“It’s not like a traditional walk. It’s really like a family reunion. So, we are here united in our heart and our spirit with all the people that have been affected by ALS,” Christi Kolarcik, of the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania, said.