28-year-old restaurant manager Ben Davis, of Northern Virginia, is thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). On his website, 2175forALS.com, he shares the stories of men and women who have been diagnosed with the disease, dedicating a day to each of those heroes. Davis will be on the Trail for approximately 72 days, averaging between 20-30 miles per day. By the end of his journey, he will have completed the equivalent of 83 marathons. It is a supported hike that began on September 21 and will conclude around Thanksgiving.

“Everyday in America, 15 people are diagnosed with ALS, which as you know, has no cure, explains Davis. “Those people walk out of the doctor’s office with a distinct mission:  to squeeze what is left out of their lives, which we all should be doing regardless.  The next two to five years for them slowly take away their ability to function simple tasks we learned as children – to walk, to talk, to write, to play, to run, to hold and many of the like.  But their minds, their hearts, and their spirits always remain.  Many have been provoked to use their last days to brighten our lives, to tell us not to wait, to show us that life is fragile, to teach us through their suffering, to send a message in their death and to give us a chance to make a change for the better.  I plan to build an audience to hear their stories and to help the world learn from these brave people.”