Retired San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher helping raise ALS awareness

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The longtime face of San Diego State basketball is championing a new cause.

Retired head coach Steve Fisher was a special guest at an ALS Association event Wednesday night to honor two patients who have defied the odds against the disease.

"Every one of us here [is] here with a goal," Fisher said. "We have a loved one, a family member with ALS."

Inez Coffman has lived with the disease for more than 20 years, and Jim Hicks has lived with the disease for more than 10. Most survive for less than five.

"She can't say how she's survived for so long," Miriam Vasquez said, interpreting for Coffman.

Vasquez, Coffman's niece and caregiver, added, "God has blessed her."

Fisher reflected on how ALS has impacted his family. His son, Mark has been fighting it since 2010.

"When you have a loved one with a disease, you get immersed in it," Fisher said. "You say, 'Why isn't there more research, more funding? Why isn't there a cure?'"

The event aimed to address some of those issues by raising awareness, as well as money, through research.

"Life is never a straight line. Life is full of twists and turns, bumps in the road," Fisher said.

He said as a father he is very proud of how his son is handling the disease.

"[He] never said, 'Why me?' Never asked for sympathy," Fisher said of his son. "Life is for the living. You live life, that's what we're doing."

For more information on ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease, click here

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