The numbers may seem small compared to other diseases but the impact ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has on victims, families and friends is just as great.
ALS takes about a thousand lives a year in Canada. Another 1000 are diagnosed – 80 percent of whom will die within two to five years of diagnosis.
There is no known cause, no known cure and nothing to help ease the symptoms.
It’s a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will. Over time, the muscles of the body break down.
“People can start with numbness in their hands or dropping things, numbness in the legs, losing their voice, shortness of breath. ALS affects everything from your breathing, talking, walking, movement.”– Tracy Page, Walk to End ALS
Which is why this Saturday’s (June 8) Walk to End ALS is so important. Page says 60 percent of funds raised go directly to helping people living with the disease (wheelchairs, walkers, caregivers), the other 40 percent goes to research.
Saturday’s walk is five kilometres in length. It begins at 10 am (registration at 9 am) at Hiway Pentecostal Church on Anne street north of Dunlop Street, travels along Dunlop Street, up Bayfield Street to City Hall, down to and across the waterfront, past the Spirit Catcher, ending back at the church.
You can sign up for the walk or make a donation at walktoendALS.ca