The Mid-Island Walk for ALS is June 4 in Parksville. Registration starts at 11 a.m at the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre with the walk starting at noon. — NEWS file photo

Walk for ALS this Sunday in Parksville

Registration starts at 11 at Parksville Civic and Technology Centre, walk starts at noon

The 2017 Mid-Island Walk for ALS will take place June 4 starting at the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre (100 Jensen Ave. E). The check in starts at 11 a.m. with the 5-k walk starting at noon.

The walk gives people the chance to raise funds and awareness for those living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and their families. Leading up to the event, walkers collect pledges from family, friends and colleagues who wish to sponser them.

To register for the walk, go to www.walkforals.ca. For more information, contact walk co-ordinator Sheldon Cleaves at midislandwalk@alsbc.ca.

As of May 26, the local walk has raised $17,212 of the $60,500 goal.

ALS is a rapidly progressing neuromuscular disease. It attacks the motor neurons that transmit electrical impulses from the brain to the voluntary muscles in the body. When the muscles fail to receive messages, the muscles lose strength, atrophy and die.

ALS affects about 2 per 100,000 persons, but at any given time there are about 4,000 people living with ALS in Canada, and 400 in B.C., according to a release from the ALS Society of B.C. ALS is rapidly progressive, with an average life expectancy after diagnosis of 3 to 5 years. However, about 15% of patients have a slower course and some may live for many years.

“The Walk for ALS across Canada is the signature event to raise awareness and funds for patient services for people living with ALS, and the Canadian ALS Research Program,” said Wendy Toyer, executive director of the ALS Society of B.C. “The impact is twofold; aside from raising funds and awareness, this event empowers people affected by ALS–the patients, families, friends, caregivers, and health care professionals–to take back some of what ALS has taken away.”

Proceeds from the walk go to the ALS Society of B.C. to provide support for people living with ALS and to invest in research to make the disease treatable, not terminal.

The society raised funds for research and to provide direct support to ALS patients and their families and caregivers. Untile a cure is found, the society provides patient services to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with the disease by offering an extensive equipment loan program, support groups and educational materials.

In B.C., June is ALS Awareness Month.

On June 1, landmark buildings in the province will light up in the colour purple to show support for people living with ALS. These buildings include the B.C. Parliament buildings, Telus World of Science, the Royal B.C. Museum, B.C. Place and Harbour Centre.

At more than 35 courses throughout B.C., the PGA of BC Golfathon for ALS will take place. The PGA golf professionals will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for the ALS Society of BC Patient Services Fund.