Man with ALS hikes the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness

Rick Marks may have to use a smartphone app to express himself these days, but ALS is far from silencing, or stopping him.

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Marks spent the past two months hiking the Appalachian Trail from Massachusetts to Maine and documented the incredible journey on his website.

“I wanted to do a hike when I was diagnosed, and I was determined to do this,” Marks said.

Surrounded and spotted by friends as he climbed, Marks completed 128 miles of the trail. His supporters will make up the other 470 miles.

While he raised awareness about and funding for ALS One, a Boston-based partnership of doctors and researchers looking for treatments or a cure by 2020, this Bank of America executive and father of two boys admits the hike was grueling at times.

But it was also empowering, and the hikers he met along the way inspired him. “They all have these great names: Medicine Man, Soul Sister,” his wife Eileen Marks said.

They also gave Rick Marks a trail name: Steady. “Because he was unflappable and determined,” she said.

The goal now? Members of the Marks family said it’s to remain positive so they can make progress.

WCVB Boston


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