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Community raises thousands in Walk to Defeat ALS at Mt. Trashmore

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Posted at 11:32 PM, Sep 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-17 07:09:51-04

On Sunday, in Virginia Beach, the annual "Walk to Defeat ALS" took place. It was something Mike Oyer was passionate about.

With the support of his friends and family, he helped to raise thousands for the ALS Association.

Though he lost his battle to the disease last month, his team is carrying on for him, with the hope that one day there will be a cure.

"The more people who know about ALS, the more we`re gonna have fighting this disease, and as you know it`s a pretty brutal disease," said Ronnie Gunnerson of the ALS Association.

The annual "Walk to Defeat ALS" brought hundreds of people together at Mount Trashmore.

Among them: the Frog Hollow Warriors.

Once again, the team with the most members led the way for the three mile walk, but this year a familiar face is missing.

"I know Mike's looking down out of that sunshine there," said Valerie Oyer, Mike's wife.

Mike Oyer, a former Navy SEAL, battled the disease for more than four years until it finally took his life in August.

NewsChannel 3 followed his journey over the years.

The disease had already robbed him of his ability to move his arms and legs, even talk at last year's walk.

Though he's no longer here, his wife Valerie says her committment to fighting ALS is just as strong, and others are stepping up, inspired by her appearances on NewsChannel 3.

"I just had somebody come up to me and said I`ve been following you on TV, I want to walk with you I mean, yeah it`s amazing, he touched a lot of people, yeah, people he never met."

Together, they're raising money that will be used to help other people diagnosed with ALS.

"The money does stay in the community, it does help, it helped us immensely over the last 7 years for equipment and emotional support, physical support, so don`t stop donating, it`s not too late."

Along with helping during the fight, the money is also used to help end the fight by trying to find a cure.

"The research is critical and the thing is, that what`s very exciting actually, is that in the past two years there have been major breakthroughs in research," said Gunnerson.

"I feel like we're a long way off, but we're closer than we`ve ever been."

Mike Oyer's team raised more than $15,000.

Overall, the walk raised about $140,000.