“I know Saturdays are precious and busy!!! I love that you came!” A note written on a memo pad from Deb, a sufferer of ALS who participates in ALS events, to everyone that came to support her that Saturday. On Saturday Oct. 3, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. there was an event held at Raley Field in west Sacramento called “Walk to Defeat ALS.”
According to sacramento.eventful.com Walk to Defeat ALS is “more than just a few-mile trek, the Walk to Defeat ALS is an opportunity to bring hope to people living with ALS, to raise money for a cure, and to come together for something you care about. The Walk to Defeat ALS is The ALS Association’s biggest annual event, which raises funds that allow local chapters to sustain care services and support research for much of the next year.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a degenerative disease in which the brain and spinal cord are affected. Essentially there is no nourishment to the muscle around the spinal cord which causes it to atrophy or waste away.
Motor neurons reach the brain through the spinal cord, and go from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. Through degeneration these motor neurons die, which may cause a person with the disease to lose the ability to speak, eat, move, or breathe.
There are two types of ALS: sporadic, which is most common, accounting for 90-95 percent of all cases, and familial, which accounts for 5-10 percent of all cases. Sporadic ALS can affect anyone at any time, where familial is inherited. Anyone with the disease has a 50 percent chance of passing on the gene mutation to their children, who may develop the disease, according to alsa.org.
I participated in the walk along with Deb’s Dream Team, which consisted of Deb, a local woman with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and her friends, family, and loved ones.
Deb is affected drastically by ALS. She no longer has the ability to walk, so she lives her life in a wheelchair. Deb also has a hard time, so she travels around with a boogie board, a paperless memo pad of sorts, so that she can still communicate as normal.
Although Deb is affected by ALS, she does not let it run her life,. Her caring daughter helps her throughout her daily activities. She is involved in all the efforts to find a cure for this disease, and she still maintains a happy life.
Deb’s Dream Team participated in the 3.2 mile walk around our state’s capitol, along with many other groups. There was also a shorter option, for those with less physical mobility, a one mile around Raley Field.
So that people could find their teams in the vast crowd each team had different color balloons. Deb’s dream team was featured with red balloons, as well as a zebra balloon.
Everyone arrived in colorful clothing for their teams, with big smiles on their face and ready to go. People of all ages got together to fight for something they care about together, and to raise money for a cure.
There was music playing as well as free water bottles, snow cones, and cotton candy as soon as everyne arrived. There were also T-shirts on sale, as a fundraiser for the event, for 75 dollars.
84 percent of the fundraising goal has been met this year. Donations have hit $251,529.90, out of a desired 300,600.00. The event coordinators expressed their gratitude for all donations to the foundation, and their expectations to meet or surpass the fundraising goal next year. They also claimed that this year was their biggest turnout and that they are excited for the more participants in the years to come.
The atmosphere was inviting and hopeful as everyone entered as well as when everyone left the walk. Through the participants and through donations, there will be a cure found, no matter how long it takes. If you would be interested in participating in a walk to raise awareness, or would like to show support for people with ALS through a donation visit the site listed below.
For more information, to find a team, a walk, or to donate, visit www.alsa.org
ALS Association at a Glance
” Leading the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.” (alsa.com)
The ALSA association encourages everyone to aid in the researh process to end this life changing disease.
There are events held as fund raisors to help pay for research. Also donations are accepted at these events and online at their webste as well.
According to their site, 20,000 Americans are stricken with this disease. The normal age range that disease strikes is between 40-70. Also according to their website reguarding the efforts to end ALS:
” Recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of this disease. There is currently one FDA approved drug, riluzole, that modestly slows the progression of ALS in some people. Although there is not yet a cure or treatment that that halts or reverses ALS, scientists have made significant progress in learning more about this disease. In addition, people with ALS may experience a better quality of life in living with the disease by participating in support groups and attending an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence or a Recognized Treatment Center.”
Any donations or participation helps aid the steps towards the cure. If you or someone you know would want to assist in finding a cure for this degenerative disease , sign up today. Find a team, find a walk, make a donation. Step by step, mile by mile we will get there. The cure to ALS is only a step away!
Note: This article was featured, in the winter 2015 edition of The Prospector