ALS patients share about their life 5 years after 'Ice Bucket Challenge': Part 1

Motocross dad Thurman Maynard, former undercover cop Sarah Olsen and Pete Frates, who helped launch the "Ice Bucket Challenge," share their stories of hope, treatment and ongoing battles with ALS.
10:14 | 08/09/19

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Transcript for ALS patients share about their life 5 years after 'Ice Bucket Challenge': Part 1
of his life. Diagnosed with als at just 35 years old. Now I have to lean against something for balance issues. My balance has gotten worse. Reporter: A husband, a father, als has already robbed him of his career, his passion for dirt biking and eventually, it will steal his ability to walk, talk, even breathe. But Thurmond still has hope, because he was chosen for a potentially ground breaking clinical trial, using stem cells designed to beat back the disease. And today, he's about to attempt what he was convinced he'd never do again. What are you about to do Try to ride a motorcycle. Reporter: For the first time in? About two and a half years. Reporter: How's it feel? Feels good so far. Reporter: Thurmond's convinced he's got a reversal of the devastating symptoms. This is the hardest part I had, I couldn't pull the clutch in. Reporter: It's an astonishing victory. That gives tantalizing hope where once there was none. Because this is the brutal reality of als. I call it the beast. Because it comes at you every single part of your life. Reporter: You're about to meet three brave warriors at different stages of their battle, from the body-building undercover police detective, to the motocross dad and the hometown hero who helped inspire an internet sensation. It was the summer of 2014. Your Facebook feed was no doubt flooded with all your friends dumping ice water on their heads. Overnight, the ice bucket challenge exploded. And those three letters, als. Als. Als. Reporter: Became known around the world. And it worked, spectacularly. More than $220 million donated to als organizations, for a disease once named after Lou Gehrig. Now five years later in the heart of Boston, hundreds of people gathered. We can cross the finish line and rid the Earth of this disease. Reporter: Watching from the stage, one of the men who helped launch millions of ice buckets. Swinging the bat today with an awful lot of confidence. Reporter: It wasn't long ago that Pete had a bright future and beautiful girlfriend when out of nowhere, heartbreak. He throws up a slide burned forever in my memory. I don't know how to tell a 27-year-old guy they have als. For a young guy like myself to be diagnosed, hopefully I can use my youth and network I'm part of. Reporter: Tapping into those social networks, beginning with Boston's biggest athletes, he helped launch a worldwide movement, eventually reaching billionaires, even presidents. Pete and his girl friend got married. Even had a baby, despite the odds. Pete's mission, to keep fighting for his young family. His bravado helping so many in the throes of this terrible disease. People like Sarah Olson who's now benefitting from the millions raised by that icy challenge. Joe, you are getting too fat. Reporter: The average age for onset of als is 55. Sarah was just 29. She's now on one of only two treatments available to als patients, radacava, which was fast-track ray proved. What would you say? It's helping. It's months on my life that because of Pete I have that chance. In the past year and a half, things have changed. But I still have use of my arms. My hands. My voice has not changed. It's quieter, but things could be a lot worse. Reporter: This was Sarah just a few years ago, a body-building champion in peak physical condition. 7% body fat, six pack abs, oh, yeah. Reporter: You had it going on. It was dedication. Reporter: How much time were you spending in the weight room? About three hours a day. Reporter: Off stage she was just as fierce, a sporty tomboy turned undercover detective for the Kansas City vice squad. What was your favorite part? Interacting with the kids. I love dealing with the kids. I'm a woman. I'm small. So the little girls would, they loved to see me in a uniform. Reporter: You're like a super hero come to life. That's what it felt like. Reporter: But two years ago the super hero began losing strength on her left side and her legs kept twitching, the combination, potential sign of als. And I didn't know what it was. Thought maybe it was related to energy drinks, cut out the energy drinks, then just progressively got weaker and weaker. Wound up trying to go up some stairs, fell backwards on my head, got several stitches. I knew I had to get some answers. Reporter: She finally met with a neurologist. Did you get a sense from the neurologist, something's up? Oh, yeah. They have a my chart system, where you can look up your records, I looked it up and I knew right then that's what I Reporter: Sarah attacked her diagnosis head on. I said mom, you've got five more minutes to be sad, then we have to figure this out. We've got to work through it. Reporter: But in her mission to push forward, some stayed behind. You were married at the time. I was. Reporter: What happened? He walked out. Couldn't handle it. Couldn't face it. But it was a bump in the road. And I moved on. Reporter: You're not bitter. No. Life's too short. Reporter: Short indeed. But Sarah's zest for life only grows. I've got to go on probably close to 20 trips with all my loved ones, friends, family, making so many memories. You know, I've lived more in the last year than I did in the first 30. Reporter: She's even managed to find love again. Her former supervisor, police captain Lonnie price, her very own super hero. As I needed more assistance, Lonnie stepped in the picture. He's like, you don't need to drive, I'll come get you. And it kind of evolved. And that was my person. I felt safe, felt comfort if he was there. Reporter: How did you fall in love? How can you not fall in love with somebody who takes such good care of you? Reporter: This is the first time I've seen your eyes get why? Because I'm lucky. He's very selfless. Takes excellent care of me. There it is. Reporter: During the day, Lonnie takes care of Sarah's every need. And together, they squeeze joy out of every moment. He volunteered for the overnight shift to make it all work. I love you. I love you. Reporter: Friends and family take over. Yeah, that's good. Reporter: While Lonnie patrols some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. Unless they find a cure you know what the end is, so that's the tough part. She's the one I want to be with, and it's an honor to take care of her. He knows what lies ahead. He's informed himself. So he's not going anywhere. Reporter: Neither is the police department, keeping her on salary, letting her work when she can. Her co-workers gifting her their precious sick days. I had 400 donated sick days in two days. Reporter: 400 donated sick days? I had people asking me are you okay on days? Reporter: Sarah's treatments may slightly delay her symptoms, but the only hope for a break through lies in a few trials. Because of her progression, she is not eligible. Are you trying to get on that? I would love to, but I have to give up my breathing machine, and I can't afford to do that. Reporter: But Thurmond Maynard is one of the very few people who have been accepted into a potentially ground breaking trial. There have never been a reversal of symptoms which is why what he's about to show us is remarkable. That's a change. This stem cell study may be doing the impossible, reversing the symptoms of his deadly disease. Whenever I went back to the doctors, hey, have you noticed any kind of improvement? I said yes, I can stand on my tippytoes. I showed them. It was a wow factor. Reporter: You wowed your doctors. I wowed myself. Reporter: When we come back. If you are able to ride today, what will that tell you? That will tell me something's working. Reporter: Thurmond is about to try something he hasn't ton in two years, stay with us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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