Two summers ago, it seemed that everyone in the world was throwing buckets of ice water over their heads for the best reason — to help find a cure for a deadly disease.

ALS Association ringing the NASDAQ bell. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

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Heroes

He has ALS. He can no longer speak. And he needs you to listen to him talk about it.

ALS took his ability to move. So he started a movement.

ALS doesn't strike with a terrifying blow. It is a gradual, creeping illness. A thousand tiny cuts that slowly add up.

For Hiro Fujita, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis started with his arms feeling heavy. Then his legs began to hurt and it became harder to climb stairs. He went to the doctor almost as a precaution, expecting to be told it was nothing serious.

Instead, on Nov. 26, 2010, Hiro was diagnosed with ALS. It is the same devastating disease suffered by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking has lived 50 years with ALS. Hiro was told he could expect to live three to five years at most before the disease attacking his motor neurons shut down his body completely.

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