Hundreds gather, and walk, to continue the battle against ALS
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
On a lovely late September day, approximately 700 individuals came out to walk, ride, skate and sing their way through helping to fight the ongoing battle against ALS.
That fight continued on Saturday (Sept. 29), at Springbank Gardens, during the annual London Walk for ALS.
ALS, which stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is also called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuromuscular disease. It is characterized by degeneration of a select group of nerve cells and pathways (motor neurons) in the brain and spinal cord. This loss of motor neurons leads to progressive paralysis of the voluntary muscles.
Leslie McAdam knows this all too well. McAdam is organizer of the event, but also a participant, walking in memory of her father-in-law who died from the disease.
Saturday’s turnout, McAdam said, was about what organizers had expected and helps push the goal of raising $2 million over 12 years.
“I think the turnout was excellent. It shows that London is very generous in giving to the community,” McAdam said. “The funds raised go towards research, in addition to helping clients who have ALS. I think that is great directly helping the people who have the condition fight against ALS.”
London Mayor Joe Fontana and London West MP Ed Holder were on hand to show their support, as was London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong, who said she felt it important to come and support the walk even though she had no personal connection to the ALS fight.
“I think it is so important that you come out and show recognition for the people who are organizing and volunteering and walking. I was so pleased to see so many different groups of people,” Armstrong said. “One group I was speaking with was the Royal Canadian Regiment, it is great to see how people of all generations, families, their dogs, grandparents, they are all out to support the fight against ALS, so we can find a cure for this disease.”
McAdam said the support of the community is particular rewarding to the many volunteers who work on the London Walk for ALS. But also personally rewarding for McAdam was all the people she was able to speak with prior to the start of the event.
“Meeting the people who have come, greetings the teams, that’s what I really love,” McAdam said. “What we are all trying to do is give the gift of hope to other families. That’s something special.”
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