Boitanio Park in Williams Lake was a sea of purple Saturday, June 4 as residents came out to show their support for families touched by ALS, and to fundraise to find a cure for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder.
The 11th annual ALS Walk for the Cure kicked off at 11 a.m. with heartfelt speeches from Mayor Walt Cobb, RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron and Eileen Campbell, event organizer, who lost her husband to the disease in 2010.
“ALS can happen to anyone and there’s no known cure, yet,” Campbell told the crowd gathered for the walk.
“In British Columbia at any given time there are over four hundred people living with ALS. For central B.C. it’s forty people, for northern B.C. it’s five and we have two people in attendance here today living in Williams Lake that have ALS and many people that are touched by it including myself and my family and I’m going to guess most of you here today.”
Campbell said there is a new initiative called Project Hope to start clinical trials in B.C. in an effort to find a cure.
Saturday’s walk was lead by bagpiper Aubrey Jackson, followed by Adrienne Kelso and Bob McAllister, their families and supporters.
“As soon as people knew about the walk they donated. Even with all the bad (things) going on, people still wanted to help,” said Bob McAllister, who attended with his wife Anita and their fundraising team.
“It’s good to see everybody. That tent over there, it’s all millwrights from where I used to work at the sawmill.”
McAllister retired from his job as a millwright foreman at Tolko Soda Creek Division a few years ago.
He was diagnosed with ALS just three months ago.
“It is a very jaw-dropping thing when the doctor tells you.”
Young mom Adrienne Kelso and her family also attended the event.
Kelso was at home on maternity leave in 2020 when she noticed typical, every day tasks were getting more difficult.
On Saturday, Kelso watched from nearby as her young children Emma and Alora Worsley played in the bouncy castle brought in for the event. Her husband Kyle, parents and other supporters were also on hand.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron said he attends the event every year to show his support to families impacted by the disease, including the Seiberts whose son Kirk, an RCMP officer, died from ALS.
Mr. Mikes staff served up burgers by donation at the Walk for the Cure and volunteers were also on hand to take donations, with all funds raised going toward raising awareness and finding a cure.