“Ultimately, what we want to do with all of our walks is raise awareness of ALS disease, give people a clear reality,” said Brigitte Labby.
Cathy Morel and Max lead the way as walkers head out for the annual walk for ALS in Parry Sound on Saturday morning.
Jack Tynan/North Star
A small group of local residents and visitors, dodging heavy rains, were well aware of the impact of ALS.
Walking about five kilometers along the Algonquin Rotary Fitness trails Saturday morning, participants recalled two local men, Kirby Villeneuve and Chuck Williams, who succumbed to the disease.
“There are 29 families in this ALS Ontario district (stretching from Sudbury to Parry Sound,” said Labby, the area’s ALS Ontario regional manager. “It’s a great loss or struggle. I see it with the clients I work with and their families.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, leads to a disintegration of the nerve system – and ultimately death.
About 12,000 people in Ontario suffer from ALS, Labby said to those gathered for Saturday’s walk. Two to three people a day are diagnosed in Canada. Two or three die every day in the country.
“It’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s devastating, there is no cure, with a two to five-year life expectancy,” said Labby. “The more we can raise awareness, the more people can give for research.”
On Saturday, walks were held in two other Ontario communities as well, and they are held in many other communities throughout the summer, but organizers hope to add walks each year.
“My hope is we have walks in every one of the communities affected, past and present,” said Labby.