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Southwest Virginia girls plan ALS walk in honor of their father

Two young girls from Southwest Virginia are working to honor their late father by raising money for an organization that helped him during his battle with ALS.

It's a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

News 5's Jessica Griffith explains how the girls are working with the town of Marion to hold a walk to defeat ALS.

Emily and Jocie Hash may be young, but they're already working to make a difference.

"We were looking for a walk and the closest one we've seen is in Roanoke and we just wanted to make it known in Marion and have one closer," Jocie Hash said.

Their dad Jim died from ALS in March 2017.

To honor his legacy, they're organizing a walk.

"He was a great man and a great father to us. He really struggled with ALS, but he was still happy all the time," Emily Hash said.

They've been planning this walk for about a year. All of the money raised will be donated to the ALS Association, which helped Jim and his wife Sally.

"She said Jim wouldn't have been able to stay home with his girls had it not been for the ALS [association]. They brought the equipment, anything she needed so that he would be able to stay home right until the end," Melissa Bowman said, who's helping organize the walk.

The walk will begin here at the Marion Farmers Market and will continue throughout Marion with the town working together blocking off the sidewalks to keep everyone safe.

"One of the blessings of being in a small town, certainly in Southwest Virginia, is you have folks who come up with an idea and they're willing to put their time and effort into it to help out the community and that's what we're all about in the town of Marion," Ken Heath said.

Emily and Jocie's mom said watching someone you love battle this disease isn't easy, but it's comforting to know his memory lives on.

"I knew they were strong girls because their daddy was the strongest and I'm very proud of them," Sally Hash said.

The walk is coming up on Saturday, June 23.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. at the Farmers Market.

For more information, or to donate, contact the Mountain Empire Federal Credit Union at 276-782-9639.

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