The Mahoning Valley is coming together for Boardman native Chris Yozwiak, battling ALS.

Yozwiak is a Boardman graduate and was diagnosed with ALS in 2020.

Since then, he's lost the ability to walk or talk. It was a shock, as Yozwiak is an otherwise healthy, athletic, young father of two.

"It's been really tough," Yozwiak's wife, Jennifer said, "It's a disease where you, unfortunately, lose just about all of your function but your mind stays intact."

The Yozwiaks reside in Hudson, and his family is doing everything possible to raise awareness for the rare disease without a cure.

"It's just been a slow decline that we continue to push forward and fight and hold out hope," Jennifer said, "In the past two years, Chris has gone from walking to not being able to walk anymore, and he speaks by using some really incredible eye gazing technology to communicate."

As isolating as the disease can be, many people are stepping in to help, including his 9-year-old son who started a leaf-raking business to raise money.

Boardman Local schools is also hosting a fundraiser on November 25th for Yozwiak. Some Boardman teachers graduated with him and he has life longs friends who live in the Valley.

"We just hope it will be a great opportunity to support Chris, but everybody fighting this unbearable disease," Jennifer said,
"It's a rare disease, but it seems like we're hearing more and more about it."

ALS is a terminal disease with an average life span of two to five years after symptoms begin, but The Yoziaks are keeping the faith.

"There are some hopeful treatments on the horizon so we're just holding out hope that perhaps there's going to be something that comes along the way in time for Chris," she said.

For more information on the spaghetti dinner fundraiser Boardman High School is putting on for Yozwiak November 25th, CLICK HERE.