Local woman finds purpose in Walk to Defeat ALS

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Randy and Karen Rehling have been married 38 years. Two years ago, their world changed when they went to the doctor.

"It's pretty much devastating," Randy said. "Takes the wind out of your sails and just nothing you can do about it."

Karen was diagnosed with ALS. It's a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. She says her legs started to feel weak about nine months before her diagnosis.

"It's gotten harder and slower and I have a scooter for long distances but I'm very fortunate that I can still walk, and I can still work full time," Karen said.

And she's putting herself to work, trying to find a cure.

"I need to feel like I have a purpose now," she said.

That purpose is the Walk to Defeat ALS.

"That support is just incredible," Karen said. "It helps us remember we're not alone in the fight."

And she has a team supporting her. They raised the most money last year and are in second place this year.

"Because the money goes to research and ALS right now has no cure," Karen added. "There's no way of stopping it and I know it will progress."

The life expectancy for someone living with ALS is 2-5 years. And Karen knows the clock is ticking for her.

"So for me, the need for the cure for that funding to get the drugs from the research lab to patients," she said. "It's a very urgent need for me before I run out of time."

You can join the fight to defeat ALS this Saturday at Sertoma Park. The walk starts at 10 a.m. with registration beginning at 8:30.

To register for the event or to make a donation, visit the ALS website.