Fmr. Kankakee firefighter battling ALS raises awareness by walking 5K

A former Kankakee firefighter who is suffering from ALS is still proving to be a hero.

On Tuesday, Derek Hogg walked in the Strike Out ALS 5K. He’s done it for years.

But this time, because of his own battle with the disease, many told him not to, including his worried wife Holly. 

Well, he didn't listen.

“I kinda wanted to make a point of it and really put forth a valiant effort and try to walk as much as I could," Derek said. “It was definitely an emotional moment for everyone that was there."

Last year, it took Derek 22 minutes. This year, he managed to walk the last mile and a half in two hours.

And yes, he finished. 

“It felt awesome, at the finish line, hugging me and cheering me on," Derek said.

In addition to fighting off the disease, he has been fighting to get his disability pension.

Months ago, as his condition worsened, he had to give up firefighting and was placed on desk duty. 

Then in February, his FMLA expired and he was terminated just months before his disability pension would have kicked in, which would have been at about $3200 dollars per month.

It’s money that would have still been paid to his wife and two boys after he died. But Mayor Nina Epstein said she couldn't allow it, because it was against the rules.

Derek did everything to try and appeal, and right now he said he has lost that battle, but not the current one.

He wants to show people that even though you're tired, there is still a reason to keep moving forward.

"My father always told me, everyone out there, mentally you can do anything that you really want do,” Derek said.

He wants people to know about the disease and to help find a cure.

"I just wanted to get awareness out there, and me crossing the finish line has done so,” Derek said.

“The look on his face of sheer determination was amazing. It was definitely there yesterday,” Holly said.

They want to thank all of their supporters and are very happy about the awareness they are bringing to ALS.

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