SPOKANE, Wash. -

5,600 people in the U.S. Are diagnosed with ALS each year. It's a debilitating disease that can strike anyone no matter their age or physical condition. Anyone, like Steve Gleason.

"This guy is a global hero. He's not just our dear friend, but he is an amazing human being," said Jimmy Ramirez, Gleason's childhood friend.

From day one of his diagnosis, Gleason made it clear he was going to fight. Fight like he has done all of his life: with no white flags.

"He represents all the hard working people that live on this planet. He was always too small, not good enough or fast enough and he just has always risen to the occasion," said Ramirez

Gleason's not alone. From those closest to him, to complete strangers, all make up Team Gleason.

"Team Gleason really has become kind of a family and it certainly started here in Spokane," said Ramirez.

Saturday's Gleason Fest is all about celebrating that family, Gleason and his big team of supporters.

"It's just a neat day, a day of thanks a day of love. So many people coming down appreciate Steve and celebrate him and his human spirit and celebrate not only what he is doing for ALS but again just the human spirit," said Ramirez.

As of Saturday morning, the festival exceeded its fund-raising goal. All proceeds will go towards the Gleason Initiative Foundation, with hopes that one day they will find a cure.

Gleason Fest is August 23, 2 pm - 11 pm. For more information visit, http://www.gleasonfest.org/.

To donate to the Gleason Initiative Foundation visit, http://www.teamgleason.org/donate/