Raleigh, N.C. — The fourth annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & ½ Marathon is just a few weeks away, and this year's race features a new charity partner - the ALS Association.
Jerry Dawson, the president of the ALS Association North Carolina, said in the past couple of years, researchers have discovered ALS-related genes and are developing new drugs to fight the disease.
"There's a good chance they could halt the disease in people the carry that genetic abnormality," he said.
The ALS Association also helps fund clinics, including the Duke University ALS Center, and it supports caregivers.
Jessica Williams said she is running the race with her mother in honor of her brother.
"He was 36 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS," Williams said.
ALS attacks nerves and muscles. The average survival time is three years. Williams’ brother died, but her family’s fight against the disease lives on.
"He lost the ability to walk and stand, and to cope with that I said, ‘I'm going to use my legs for him,’" Williams said.
Williams said she hopes runners sign up and help raise money for patients and their families.
"There is no cure. We need as much help as we can get," she said.
The Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K will again be run through Dorothea Dix Park Saturday, April 1, at 8 a.m.
The two longer races take over downtown on Sunday, April 2, beginning with the starting gun at 7 a.m. from Fayetteville and East Davie streets.
Runners will celebrate at a post-race concert, headlined by Cracker, at Red Hat Amphitheater.