ADAMS, Mass. — A Massachusetts man who was diagnosed with ALS is setting out to hike 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Rick Marks, of Winchester, plans to begin his trek Saturday at Mt. Greylock in the town of Adams and hike to Mt. Katadhin in Maine by early August to raise money for ALS research.

He was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease in October but says he decided to keep up his lifelong passion of hiking.

Marks hopes to spread awareness of the disease and raise $50,000 for ALS ONE, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group that supports ALS research.

He says the disease has affected his speech and balance but that he’s determined to complete the hike with friends by his side.

Marks plans to provide updates on his blog throughout the trip.