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Abby Stern
October 16, 2017 03:53 PM

In 2014, Hollywood power publicist Nanci Ryder was diagnosed with ALS. Since the diagnosis, the former BWR publicist’s friends and former clients have rallied around her as she fights the disease.

On Sunday, many of them joined her at Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles on “Team Nanci” at the 15th Annual LA County Walk To Defeat ALS.

Same Kind Of Different As Me star Renée Zellweger opened up to reporters about what it’s been like being by her friend’s side throughout the illness. “I’ve learned a lot about the stages of grief that you experience, and how worthwhile and necessary functions like this are, how important they are and also how effective they are because people can’t give to or support a cause that they don’t know about,” she said.

RELATED VIDEO: Renée Zellweger, Courteney Cox, and Reese Witherspoon Support Team Nanci in ALS Walk

“I’m really grateful that we are here today to talk about it because I think, like me, I think a lot of people didn’t know what the bucket challenge was for, or that Lou Gehrig’s Disease is ALS, or what it means. We know that it’s related to other neuromuscular diseases like MS and Parkinson’s, but this is so much different in many ways,” she added.

Courteney Cox, who has known Ryder “forever,” brought her daughter Coco Arquette with her to the walk and expressed her admiration for her longtime friend. When asked what she’s learned throughout this difficult time with Ryder, Cox marveled at “just how brave she is.”

“Nanci had breast cancer years ago. She went through that. She’s just gone through so many things, and her strength is unbelievable. I don’t know. I’m in awe of her. She just continues to fight and had the will to want to keep going. A lot of people wouldn’t do that,” she added.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

American Horror Story‘s Matt Bomer revealed how instrumental Ryder has been in his family’s life. “Nanci Ryder has been part of our family since I’ve been around. She gave Simon [Hall] his first job in the business. She is one of the most vibrant, loving, supportive, courageous people I know. So we’d do anything for her,” he told reporters.

He continued, “It’s affected our family pretty intensely for quite some time now, and it’s one of those diseases that you can’t really understand. It just sounds like something off in the periphery until you really experience it and see just how difficult the struggle of this disease is.”

Also on hand at the walk were Justine Bateman, who was a client of Ryder’s in her Family Ties days, Lara Flynn Boyle and Elizabeth Berkley.

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