After nearly 40 years on the anchor desk, beloved news veteran Larry Stogner is heading into retirement. In an emotional but heartfelt message to the viewers of WTVD (ABC) in North Carolina, Stogner revealed that — as many had noticed — his voice had already started to show the symptoms of his now-diagnosed ALS:
Stogner relayed to viewers:
“I am sure that in recent months, you’ve noticed a change in my voice, my speech slower…Many of you were kind enough to email me ideas about what it might be, or just to show concern, and I truly appreciate that. As it turns out, I have ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
Stonger had, like so many people, taken part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge project, and says he had no idea that it was going to change his own life. While the married father of six says his career is over, he feels blessed to have had a great job for so many years.
“Larry is the dean of our Eyewitness newsroom and the patriarch of the ABC11 family,” said Caroline Welch, President and General Manager of WTVD. “While we are rocked by this news, our full love and support go to Larry and his family as he fights against this disease.”
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a neurological disease that eventually will cause the brain to stop communicating with the body’s muscles. It is incurable, and people who suffer from ALS will eventually lose their ability to speak or move, and the disease is fatal.
Recently, we spoke with Lynne Nieto, whose husband Augie was diagnosed with ALS. After getting the news, the high school sweethearts had to trade their storybook life for something much more challenging, but out of the crisis came hope.
Together, they’ve launched Augie’s Quest with a mission of raising funds to find a cure: