Much more than a walk — June 5 event in Parksville supports ALS research

ALS affects people’s motor neurons, which carry messages to the muscles

The 11th annual mid-Island Peoples Drug Mart Walk for ALS is set for Sunday, June 5 in Parksville.

“Many wonderful activities will occur throughout the event, organized by our amazing local team of volunteers,” according to a news release. “You will also be joining together with other families, volunteers, sponsors and teams to make a significant impact on the lives of many local families struggling daily with ALS.”

Proceeds from the walk go to the ALS Society of B.C. to fund research and to provide support for those living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a fatal neuromuscular disease.

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS affects people’s motor neurons, which carry messages to the muscles. When the muscles fail to receive messages, they lose strength, atrophy and die, leaving the person immobilized. The ALS Society says volunteers and public support through things like the walk are making unprecedented progress. “Right now, the ALS community has an extraordinary opportunity to step forward with renewed confidence and vigor. Promising new discoveries of inquiry offer so many reasons for us to see a brighter future for the ALS mission.”

“As much as I try to ignore the fact that I have ALS, this relentless disease reminds me of its ever growing hold…” ALS patient Joanne Stark said last year. “Every time I struggle to get out of my wheelchair, every time I labour to turn over in bed, every time I fight to make my voice understood, every time I must ask for help to do even a simple task that I used to be able to handle with ease.” She added that “at least 80 per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis.”

Visit www.walkforals.ca for more information, or to register for the walk. On June 5 registration starts at 11 a.m. behind the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre (by the cenotaph), and the walk starts at noon.