People Taking Action: Local grandma joins the fight against ALS

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - "She's my best friend my very best friend."

Betty Marshall of Chesapeake is talking about her daughter Barbara, who's battling ALS.

Betty's daughter used to have a very active lifestyle, from white-water rafting to snorkeling, but not anymore. Now she can only walk with assistance, has lost the use of her right arm and has a feeding tube.

It gradually robs you of life, Jeri Prosser points out.  She's a local care service coordinator with the Virginia ALS Association.

"So it affects what we call the voluntary muscles that enable you to walk, to move your arms and legs to speak and swallow and eventually to breathe," Prosser said.

Betty fights back tears as she things about her daughter's future, "I hate to say, I hate to lose her, but one day it's going to be like that and I just hope everybody donates to ALS."

This past weekend at Norfolk's Harbor Park, that's what the 80-year-old was encouraging people to do, raising money to help victims of ALS during the Walk to Defeat ALS.

Her family says Betty really took the initiative to help get the word out, that she just didn't want it to be the walkers spreading the word--so everyone could donate as much as possible.

That's why we presented Betty with a News 3 People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.