Fifth Annual Walk to End ALS in North Bay
Published Sunday, June 16, 2019 10:46PM EDT
It’s a disease that affects approximately 3,000 Canadians. People in North Bay took a stand Sunday in the fifth annual Walk to End ALS.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, gradually paralyzes people when the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles. There is currently no cure, but officials say research has come a long way in recent years.
“It’s come leaps and bounds,” says Mary-Anne Walsh of the ALS Society of Canada. “We are getting closer to a cure every day.”
Anne-Marie Gagne, who attended the walk with her family, suffers from what is called PLS, which is a partial form of ALS. Eventually, doctors say her condition will worsen to produce the full effects of the disease.
“Her spirits are really high still and her family is here with her and it’s great,” Carol Snook, Anne-Marie’s sister tells CTV News. “It’s wonderful for her.”
This year the walk saw approximately one hundred people come out. Both those suffering from the disease and those who have watched family members struggle with it, some losing their battles, came together to bring awareness to the cause.
“It’s a walk to raise awareness,” Walsh says. “We need to raise awareness of this horrific disease. It’s an important walk. We also raise money for research and for client services.”
Others participating in the walk have lost family to the disease. Ray Seguin lost his father-in-law to ALS two years ago.
“We’re still dealing with it,” Seguin says. “One day at a time. We’re a very close family and all of his kids live on the same street. He’s still part of our family.”
Since the walk started in North Bay five years ago, more than one-hundred thousand dollars has been donated. Sixty per cent of the funds stay local, while the remainder is dedicated to research. Seguin is not giving up hope for others who are battling with ALS.
“That’s why we’re here every year even though he’s passed on, to beat this disease,” Seguin says. “We miss him dearly. But, Happy Father’s Day Steve!