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San Diego Walk to Defeat ALS

Thanks to the more than 2,000 walkers and 110 teams, the 2023 San Diego Walk to Defeat ALS raised $527,977.16 (as of October 23rd).  Our family formed one of those teams: Walk for Coach Baer.

Our father Marlin Baer died of ALS in 1987.  In 1983, he retired after teaching and coaching high school for 40 years.  From 1956-1983, he taught at his beloved Grossmont High School, a teaching legacy that continued with several of his children teaching at GHS from 1973 to 2020 and today with his grandchildren, two teaching now at GHS.

Our dad loved teaching; we had to “talk him into” retiring at the age of 66.  Within a year, he began falling, which was for him, the first symptom of ALS, a cruel progressive disease that soon made him a prisoner of his body.        

Even after retirement, Dad continued to go to track and field practice at GHS as long as he could to guide the shot and discus throwers.  Recently, one of his throwers shared with us that “Coach Baer was the first person to give me the support and self confidence that would give me the emotional strength and maturity to excel and achieve what I did in my life.” His athletes remember him as their coach, mentor, and friend.

Four decades or more later, his math students remember him for his humanity and sincerity. “I will always remember what a kind and giving person Coach Baer was.”  Another student recalls that he was a “a great person with a quiet spirit about him.”

Sadly, in the process of fundraising, we learned of several Foothiller alumni who have died of ALS as well as family members of several other GHS teachers.


Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. 

That’s why we participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS: to bring hope, to raise awareness, to provide resources and services to families free of charge, to help unlock the mystery of ALS and find the key to treatments, and to find a cure.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. 

ALS can strike anyone. Presently there is no known cause of the disease, yet it still costs loved ones an average of $250,000 a year to provide the care people living with ALS and their families need. Join the movement to provide help and hope today!

It’s not too late to lend your support.