The third annual Williams Lake Walk for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) took place recently in Boitanio Park.
Organized by local residents Eileen Campbell and Heather Robertson, the fundraising event featured a walk through the park that included people living with ALS, people affected by the disease and supporters and friends.
Led by Williams Lake Pipe Band members John Visentin and Bryan Underwood, participants wound their way through the park after opening remarks and singing O Canada at the main stage.
ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eileen Campbell said that her husband died of ALS in 2010 after just over two years battling the disease. She added that for her and Heather Robertson, the main reason for doing the walk is to raise awareness about ALS.
“When my husband was diagnosed, who knew what those three little letters were going to mean? We had no idea how devastating a disease this is. We didn’t know anybody in the community to connect with. The ALS clinic is in Vancouver and his neurologist was in Kamloops, but we had no support networks here,” she said.
“We’ve since been connected to many people in our community who have been affected by ALS, and we have two people at the walk today who are living with it.
“They’re close to a cure,” she added. “Along with raising awareness, raising funds is a big reason for holding this walk.”