By Pat Forrest
It has been just over a year since thousands of Canadians seemingly otherwise of sound mind began dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and support programs. Organizers of ALS fundraising walks across the country hope that the heightened awareness the challenge generated will lead to more participants and thus more funding to aid the search for a cure as well as support those who are dealing with the disease. It did seem to do the trick in Thunder Bay—organizer Lee-Anne Flank says that while they normally have about 150 walkers, last year that number rose to over 200.
ALS is a terminal neurodegenerative disease in which motor neurons that connect the muscles to the brain degenerate, robbing the person of the ability to walk, talk, and eventually breathe. There is no effective treatment or cure and most people will die within two to five years. ALS is indiscriminate of age, ethnicity or gender. Last year Canadians donated $17 million to ALS Societies across Canada. From these donations, $11.5 million was allocated to ALS research and $4.4 million to help people living with ALS across the country.
ALS Regional Manager Kim Barry said that as an organization their goal is to make ALS a treatable rather than terminal illness. “We will continue to fundraise until we achieve our goal. Thunder Bay has been so generous and are truly supportive and for that we are extremely grateful,” she adds.
The 13th annual Thunder Bay Walk for ALS will take place on Saturday, September 26, starting from the Masonic Temple, 1600 Dease Street. Check-in begins at 8:30 am with the walk slated to start at 10 am. The walk is 5 km.
For more information, contact Lee-Anne Flank at 355-1309 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit walkforals.ca/thunderbay.