WOODBURY - Researchers at Northwestern University announced a medical breakthrough today after discovering a common cause for all forms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The announcement has renewed hope for a cure for the roughly 350,000 people affected by the fatal disease worldwide. Miller Place resident Chris Pendergast, who suffers from ALS, says the news is something he's been waiting to hear for 17 years.

Pendergast launched Ride for Life, which has raise around $3.5 million for ALS research. He says much of that funding has come from students across Long Island.

The findings may also help with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, as well as with many other neurological diseases.

Ride for Life reaches out to ALS treatment centers