Rick Marks was diagnosed with ALS last year and wanted to think of a way to not only raise awareness for the disorder but also raise money.
“Since then, ALS has affected my speech, swallowing, the left side of my body, my neck muscles and my balance,” Rick writes on his site.
As an avid hiker for many years, the dad of two decided that he would backpack the final 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail. “A year ago I could probably have hiked the entire AT from Georgia to Maine,” Rick writes on his website. “Now I will do the best I can to complete the most difficult portion of the trail.”
He started his journey on June 17 and as of July 23, 2017, he is on his 36th day on the trail. “By January, he was talking about doing this hike and I have to confess I didn’t take him completely seriously at first,” Rick’s wife Eileen says. “It’s been great to have this hike to focus on because it’s given us something to put all of our energy into.”
Despite ALS affecting his ability to walk, Rick has done an amazing job so far on his hike. He also has close family and friends hiking with him to make sure he doesn’t fall or hurt himself. “I have fallen a number of times but the friends who are hiking with me have been a big help,” Rick says.
Rick is also hoping to raise $50,000 to go toward finding a cure for ALS. “I don’t want one more family to have to go through what we are experiencing, and what so many others have before us,” Rick writes. ” I want to do something to make a difference and to contribute to ending this horrific disease while I still can.”
If you would like to donate to Rick’s cause, please visit: https://www.firstgiving.com/alsone/RicksHikeForALS
Then, SHARE this post on Facebook with friends and family in support of his 600-mile hike!