Renée Zellweger Doesn't Let Friends Fight Alone


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Nanci Ryder, founder of bicoastal BWR Public Relations and talent publicist, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, in August, while the entire country was completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

"Unless they find a cure, it's terminal," Ryder told her close friend and client Renee Zellweger. "They haven't told me that I'm terminal, but the disease is. Eventually. Look, there is Stephen Hawking, and I hear stories about people who have had it for 10 years. You don't know. But if you look it up on the Internet, it says 'progressive and terminal.' So you fight. That's it."

Luckily, Nanci does not have to fight alone. Along with Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, Emmy Rossum, and Katharine McPhee attended Sunday's Walk to Defeat ALS in Los Angeles wearing "Team Nanci" t-shirts.

"We just talked for hours and cried and talked, and after all of the crying, we said, "What are we going to do? How are we going to help?' "Witherspoon said of Ryder's diagnosis. "And she said, 'I am going to change the way that people see this disease. I am going to fight, and I am going to raise awareness and money and people are going to know what ALS is – and we're going to eradicate this horrible disease.'"

"This is just another new chapter in our friendship," Zellweger added. "It's been a long friendship, and this isn't the first major change or challenge that she's faced that we've shared."