Special to The NEWS
The community came out Sunday afternoon to support the annual Walk for ALS fundraiser.
Approximately 300 people turned out at the Parksville Civic Centre to complete the three-kilometre walk. More than $40,000 was raised this year through online and cash donations, according to organizer Christina Brown.
“Forty per cent of the cash is donated to researching a cure, and 60 per cent is donated to patient services.” said Sheldon Cleaves, President of the ALS society of the B.C.’s North Central Island Chapter.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease which affects the nerve cells that control one’s muscles. In Canada, approximately 2,500 – 3,000 people are living with this disease.
“I think (this walk) is an amazing opportunity to raise awareness and donations to ALS,” said Cindie Cosentino, part of a team called Murray’s Marvelous Marchers, which had raised $23,000 as of Sunday morning, according to the Walk for ALS website.
Murray Chantler is the leader of this group. He alone raised $7,775 this year.
“We’re trying to raise awareness about what ALS is and what it does to people,” said Chantler. “(The walk) is a great event and all the hard work the team put into fundraising has paid off.”
“It’s an amazing effort the Island does for this small community,” said Sheldon Cleaves “(This event) doesn’t happen without (enthusiastic) people. Our society in B.C. is probably the best in Canada.”
“I appreciate everyone turning out to the walk,” said Bill Turner, co-ordinator of the walk.