ALS Walk co-ordinator Heather Robertson gives Mayor Walt Cobb a T-shirt

ALS Walk co-ordinator Heather Robertson gives Mayor Walt Cobb a T-shirt

City proclaims ALS awareness week

City council has proclaimed June 7 to 13 as ALS Awareness Week in the city.

After hearing from Williams Lake Walk for ALS co-ordinators Eileen Campbell and Heather Robertson city council has proclaimed June 7 to 13 as ALS Awareness Week in the city.

The Peoples Drug Walk for ALS takes place Saturday,  June 13 in Boitanio Park, Campbell told council.

Proceeds from the walk go to the ALS Society of BC to fund research and to provide support for those living with ALS.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neuromuscular disease that affects the person’s motor neurons which carry messages to the muscles. When these muscles fail to receive messages, they lose strength, atrophy and die, leaving the person immobilized.

“It will the fourth walk, Campbell said.  “Our walks have raised $43,000 so far.”

Robertson has already raised $7,000 alone toward this year’s walk which will help put the local effort well over $50,000.

Campbell’s husband was diagnosed with ALS in 2008 and died two years later.

“My husband wanted to meet someone else (locally) with ALS but unfortunately that never happened,” she told council. “But we did go to Prince George and meet people there with it.”

Hosting an ALS walk raises money and awareness, but it also provides an opportunity for people living with the disease to connect with other people who are impacted by it, Campbell said.

June is ALS awareness month in B.C., which is what prompted Campbell to ask council to proclaim the week in Williams Lake.

Coun. Scott Nelson asked if Campbell knew how many people in Williams Lake have ALS.

“I know for sure that Bill Montgomery who sits here tonight has ALS,” Campbell responded. “As we’ve been selling raffle tickets lots of people have told us their father, sister, mother or someone they know has it.”

The ALS ice bucket challenge successfully raised a huge amount of awareness, she added.

“Before that people would say to me what’s ALS, which was exactly what we said when the doctor gave us my husband’s diagnosis. Those three letters change people’s lives in a huge way.”

“The ice bucket challenge raised $20 million in Canada. ALS Canada partnered with Brain Canada and donated $20 million for research of all neurological diseases,” Campbell said, adding ALS BC put $2 million into research.

“ALS BC boasts they use less than 15 per cent on administration out of all money raised,” she said, adding the walks are the organization’s biggest fundraiser.

As she walked around handing out ALS Walk T-shirts to members of council, Robertson said she also had pledge forms.

“I only brought 40 because I didn’t want to be pushy,” she smiled.

The Walk for ALS is a volunteer-driven event coordinated by the ALS Society of BC, taking place in 15 communities across BC and Yukon.  Each location features accessible routes for wheelchairs and scooters, rest stops and more.

The ALS Society of BC, established in 1981, is dedicated to providing direct support to ALS patients, along with their families and caregivers, to ensure the best quality of life possible while living with ALS.

Through assisting research, society is committed to find the cause of, and cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).