Ahead of Scranton’s ALS 5K, Renewed Hope For A Cure

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SCRANTON -- Organizers spent Friday preparing for the NEPA 5K for ALS in Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

And this year brings renewed hope for a cure for the disease.

"The purpose of this race was to raise money for research but also the awareness behind it. You know. Without people knowing about the disease and what it is, it's hard for people to put money behind it,” said Nick Costanzo of NEPA 5K for ALS.

AlLS is a degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Those who are diagnosed live an average of 2 to 5 years.

Nick Costanzo, Matt Swartz and Rosemarie Coyne are three friends who each have or had a loved one with also and so 4 years ago, they started the NEPA 5K for ALS.

"There's actually quite a large number of people that are affected by ALS and that's a part of why we're doing what we're doing and why we started NEPA ALS Foundation," said Matt Swartz of NEPA 5K for ALS.

This year, 350 people are registered for the 5K, more than ever before.

And there's exciting news in the fight against ALS.

The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new drug to treat ALS.

It's the first time that's happened in 22 years.

"You get one drug and you know that could turn into something else and eventually, hopefully it will turn into a cure. And that's what we want so," said Rosemarie Coyne.

Internationally, there have been big developments too.

Just this week, scientists in Israel announced a new treatment for ALS, too.

"It's very promising and it's really just scratching the surface and we're really looking forward to doing our part to advance as well as much as we can and really put an end to this disease,” said Swartz.

The new drug in the U.S. is expensive: estimated to cost 150-thousand dollars a year. It will be available in August.

The NEPA 5K for ALS begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 27th at Nay Aug Park.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. and can be done online, as well here.