ALS Walk raises $40K

Nelson’s eighth annual ALS walk was a huge success, according to organizer Gord Shannon.

More than 175 people from across the West Kootenays came out to walk from Lakeside Park to the Nelson airport and back on June 7, which raised around $40,000 for the ALS Society of Canada.

“This area has great support for the walk because people are affected by ALS in the community,” said Shannon, who was one of two participants who were pushed along the route in wheelchairs because of ALS.

ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects the person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and elsewhere; typically the person is immobilized or deceased within two to five years of the initial diagnosis.

Shannon has been living with the disorder for 12 years and since he started organizing the walk in Nelson he has always been the top individual fundraiser.

This year he earned $55,000.

He’s also used to being on the top fundraising team, but this year a team made up of the Coletti and Vingo families took that honour by raising over $10,300.

The team was led by Mary Cretti, the second person in the walk affected by ALS.

“Most people go their whole life without every hearing of ALS,” said Shannon.

“So us being out in the community like this, walking and raising money, it helps raise awareness.”

Shannon said he received a lot of generous support from everybody who came out to walk, the volunteers that helped plan and host the event, as well as from local businesses who donated prizes.

The money raised in the walk stays in B.C. to fund patient services and research towards a cure for ALS.

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