EAST HAMPTON - For 17 years, Miller Place resident and ALS patient Chris Pendergast has been a part of Ride for Life and each year the number of participants grows. Each one walks for a different reason, but with a common cause of bringing awareness to Lou Gherig’s disease.

This year, three new riders have joined the fight to find a cure. One of them is Clinton Strait, who walks with his wife Leslie. Strait says people are very hopeless at first. But walks like the Ride for Life give people hope.

“Maybe it isn’t a death sentence – that there is hope – when you see all the people, the volunteers – all the money that comes in,” says Leslie Strait.

As part of the Ride for Life mission, founder Pendergast travels to schools to bring awareness about the disease. The organization has raised close to $5 million so far. This year, it hopes to raise another $250,000.