150 residents make a difference in ALS Walk for Orangeville

June 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Around 150 people turned out to take a hike in support of the ALS Walk for Orangeville and the surrounding area on Saturday, June 2.

The walk took place on trails at the Island Lake Conservation Area and included an eight-kilometre jaunt through wooded trails followed by a barbecue at the finish line.

Walk coordinator Lee Pettit got involved with the walk after her husband was stricken with the disease. He passed away in 2012.

“Last year we raised $18,000. This year we are hoping to raise $20,000,” Ms. Petti explained. “The Walk is the first Saturday of June every year. Sixty per cent of the funds raised at the walk is used for equipment in the local area for patients that have ALS. It is used wheelchairs, foyer lifts, hospital beds. The ALS Society has an equipment pool. Forty per cent goes to research.”

The ALS walks are held at very centres across the country.

“The Walks are held all across Canada. We have around 150 people here today.”

ALS is a particularly cruel disease that slowly robs people of their mobility.

It s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

While research has provided a new understanding of the physiology of the disease, it is still not known what causes it. There is no cure. It is progressive and does not go into remission and there is no treatment.

Researches are trying to find out specific details about what causes it and what can prevent it but little progress has been made in that area.

The annual ALS Walk strives to raise funds to support research as well as assist those living with the disease as it progresses.

Most of the people involved in the walk have been affected in some way by the disease – usually through a family member who is living with ALS or has since passed away from the disease.

June is ALS Awareness Month, and last Thursday Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson, whose father died of the disease, rose in the Commons to ask fellow members  to wear a cornflower “to demonstrate our support for the fight against ALS, so that together, we can support victims and families and promote research to find a cure.”

Mr. Tilson advised members that ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “is a rapidly progressive, fatal motor neuron disease that leaves those affected in a state of progressive paralysis, but with full possession of their mental faculties. My father succumbed to ALS after a four-year fight, and so it has affected me personally. All members know of the courage of our late colleague, Mauril Bélanger, during his battle with this terrible disease.

“Each year at this time, the Walk for ALS takes place to help raise funds for critical research and support, and there is encouraging news for this dreaded disease. Researchers believe it is a matter of when, not if, effective treatments will emerge, according to the ALS Society of Canada.”

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