Organizers and participants in last year’s annual Walk for ALS at Lakeside Rotary Park.

Organizers and participants in last year’s annual Walk for ALS at Lakeside Rotary Park.

Annual Walk for ALS set for Sunday on Nelson’s waterfront

The 11th annual Walk for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Rotary Park.

The 11th annual Walk for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Rotary Park.

In the past 10 years the West Kootenay Walk has raised more than $523,000 with 60 per cent of those funds being utilized for ALSBC and Yukon for patient supports and services and 40 per cent going towards research for treatments for a cure.

The ALS services programs include equipment loan, transportation, support groups, psychological treatment services, caregiver events, a summer camp for children of an ALS parent and a computer based program called Care Connections. Beginning last year an outreach multi-professional clinic to complement the ALS center at GF strong rehab was also an important part of the fundraising efforts.

The majority of ALS society funds are collected through pledges to individuals and teams in the 15 walk locations in BC and Yukon and more than 80 walks across Canada.

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have found a key link between prions and the neurodegenerative disease. The discovery is significant as it opens the door to novel approaches to the treatment of ALS.

The team’s findings provide a molecular explanation for the progressive spread of ALS through the nervous system, and highlight the central role of the propagation of misfolded proteins in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  This discovery is a first step toward the development of targeted treatments that may stop progression of ALS.

ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die, resulting in paralysis and death. Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians currently live with the fatal disease, to which there is no effective treatment. For many years ALS has remained a complex puzzle and the researchers feel they have found a key piece to help guide the research community to solutions.

Peoples Drug Mart has been a provincial sponsor for the ALS Society for BC and Yukon for six years and has donated over $300,000.   Nelson, Nakusp and Salmo’s local Peoples Drug Marts fundraise and join in at the walk at Lakeside Park.  Global BC and the BC Lions are also provincial supporters. The two local West Kootenay sponsors for this year’s walk are LASCA and Investors Group.

Registration forms for this year’s walk are available at Peoples Drug Mart at the Nelson Medical clinic or by contacting walk co-ordinator Gord Shannon at westkootenaywalk@alsbc.ca.

Registration is in Chahko Mika Mall on June 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or at Lakeside Park on June 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.