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Star football player battles ALS, family raises awareness

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, is always, unfortunately, a death sentence. There is no cure and no definitive cause. But a Mid-South family, along with hundreds of other Mid-Southerners, will be walking together this weekend to help reverse the odds of the horrific illness.

Five years ago, Denise McCrary's brother, Brian, was diagnosed with ALS.

"It's this horrid, progressive degenerative neuro disease that affects the nerve cells in your brain and in your spine," explained McCrary. "You get this and look it up on the Internet and see, oh my gosh, it's a two to five year death warrant. It's hard."

McCrary's family has football in their blood and extensive history on the gridiron.

Brian was an outstanding football player at Germantown High School. He was also voted Mr. Germantown High and went on to letter in football at Florida State University. To this day, he still holds a record for interceptions as a Seminole and is a member of the Florida State all-decade football team.

"Dad played college ball at Howard University in Birmingham, which is now Sanford," said McCrary. "I went to Alabama, as close as I could get to the football field, which is a good place to be. My brother, Conrad, played at Ole Miss and my baby brother, Brian, played at Florida State."

The McCrary family is just one Mid-South family affected by the disease. Hundreds will come together Saturday for the Walk to Defeat ALS. You can join the walk, too. It will be held at Audubon Park on Saturday, October 19. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. and the 1-mile walk starts at noon.

For more information about the Walk to Defeat ALS, click here: http://web.alsa.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=9244#.UmAerRBc-gU

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