Nanci Ryder may have lost her ability to use her voice in the four years since she was diagnosed with ALS, but that doesn’t mean the legendary publicist wasn’t heard on Sunday at the LA County Walk to Defeat ALS.
After receiving this year’s Walk Hero Award from Renee Zellweger and Courteney Cox, “Bold and the Beautiful” actor Don Diamont read a letter from the BWR Public Relations co-founder after explaining that they have been friends for more than 35 years.
“They don’t call ALS progressive and devastating for a nothing, but I…remember how awestruck I was when people gathered around me in support, to feel the warmth when I look at the faces of so many people cheering me for being so brave,” Diamont said. “I could hear the words from friends and even strangers telling me, ‘You are not alone.’ Who knew that this would be the greatest gift of the disease.”
He continued, “I never intended to be courageous or inspirational but according to this award apparently, I am. So, I ask you all today to promise me that no matter what you will never, ever give up.”
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Since joining the walk four years ago, Team Nanci has raised more than $600,000.
“She keeps moving the goal post and defying expectations every year,” Zellweger told Variety. “This is the very least we can do to come out and show our support and to show her that she’s not going through this alone.”
Also one of the many wearing a “Team Nanci” t-shirt was actress Billie Lourd. “I’ve known her since I was three years old,” she said. “And she is the most incredible inspirational woman I know, hands down.”
Team Nanci also included Dr. Justin Ichida, Kathy Maffei, Tom Maffei, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Bruce Bozzi, Justine Bateman, publicists Jennifer Allen, Melissa Kates, Nicole Perna, Brett Ruttenberg and Jay Schwartz, APA’s Jonathan Perry, Tracey Ross and brothers Lawrence and Gregory Zarian.
Produced by the ALS Golden West chapter, the 16th annual walk took place at Exposition Park with opening ceremonies hosted by Fox 11’s Elex Michaelson. Golden West supports people living with ALS throughout California and Hawaii.