A walk with special impact

The tenth anniversary Walk for ALS is slated for Sunday, June 5 at 1 p.m. in Rotary Lakeside Park.

Lila Yeske (left) her friends Mary Coletti and Barb Shannon. Funds raised at the ALS walk have made life better for locals who suffer from the disease.

Lila Yeske (left) her friends Mary Coletti and Barb Shannon. Funds raised at the ALS walk have made life better for locals who suffer from the disease.

The tenth anniversary Walk for ALS is slated for Sunday, June 5 at 1 p.m. in Rotary Lakeside Park.

In the past nine years the West Kootenay walk has raised more than $425,000, with 60 per cent of those funds being utilized by ALS B.C. and Yukon for patient supports and services and 40 per cent going towards research for treatments or a cure.

The ALS patient services programs include: equipment loan, transportation support, support groups, psychological treatment services, caregiver events/days, a summer camp for the children of an ALS parent, a computer based program called Care Connections, and beginning this year an outreach multi-professional travelling clinic to complement the ALS Centre at GF Strong Rehab.

The majority of the ALS Society funds are collected through pledges to individuals and teams in the 14 walk locations in B.C. and Yukon and the more than 80 walks across Canada.

Peoples Drug Mart have been a provincial sponsor for the ALS Society of B.C. for six years and have donated over $275,000. Nelson’s local Peoples Pharmacy fundraises and joins us at the walk at Lakeside.

Along with the family, I was a caregiver of a dear friend with ALS. I saw first hand how valuable the equipment provided by the ALS Society supported and enhanced the quality of Mary’s life. This disease has a progression that affects each individual differently, bringing the need for a wide range of equipment.

The equipment provided by the ALS Society allowed us to focus on what was really important: working as a team to support our Mary, caring for her the best we could and enhancing her life to the best of our ability.

For more information of the equipment that ALS B.C. supplies free go to: alsbc.ca/uploads/2011%20Equipment%20Prescription%20Form.pdf

Mary had a DynaWrite computer-voice synthesizer with a speaker phone, paging system, and TV remote, that could all be operated by buttons using her foot. When Mary could no longer speak clearly this allowed her to tell us exactly what she needed, giving her a great sense of independence, peace of mind, and some control in her life.

There was also a lift for the bathtub, chair or commode; swivel and transport boards for moving her from chair to tub to bed or even into a vehicle; a portable commode; an electric hospital bed with a special air mattress that protected her from pressure points and bed sores; and two wheelchairs, one folding, and one more substantial with head support.

Mary was always so thrilled to go for our many walks. It brought such joy to her to greet the trolley drivers, and passersby. Without the substantial head support wheelchair this journey would have been impossible.

In addition to the equipment from the ALS Society, our local hospital physiotherapy department fabricated hand and foot supports, loaned support aids, and worked with Mary on how to do as much as possible for herself.

Other equipment came for free from BCITS Vancouver (bcits.org/default.htm) and their TIL (Technology for Independent Living) including delivery and pick-up.

I want to thank everyone who supports the ALS walk and Society as I’ve seen firsthand how greatly your donations enhance the lives of others.

Registration forms for this year’s walk are available at Peoples Pharmacy in the Nelson Medical Clinic or by contacting walk chair Gord Shannon at westkootenaywalk@alsbc.ca.

Registration is in Chahko Mika Mall June 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or at Lakeside Park on June 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.