Coordinator steps up for first Agassiz Walk for ALS

‘This is for a man who saved a lot of lives in this community’: Edmondson

Agassiz will have its very first Walk for ALS on June 15 this year, thanks to a local woman stepping up to coordinate it.

Deanne Edmondson said she’s happy to be the key contact and organizer for the worthwhile event.

There will be Walks for ALS events happening throughout the province on the same day. However, the closest event to Agassiz so far will be Abbotsford. When she noticed a story and advertisement about the Walk for ALS, she immediately knew she wanted to participate. When she called the ALS Society for more information, she was told a coordinator would still be needed. She jumped at the chance.

“I’m doing it because of the connection I have with this wonderful family, the Wiehlers,” she said. Peter Wiehler, a longtime Agassiz paramedic, is living with ALS. He is also the father to Edmondson’s son’s girlfriend.

But even more than that, she says, Wiehler spent his life making Agassiz a better place.

“This is for a man who saved a lot of lives in this community,” she says. And while all the money raised through the walk will go toward the ALS Society of B.C., Edmondson is holding the walk in Wiehler’s honour.

There is currently no cure for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), which is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. Every day, two or three Canadians die of the disease.

To make the Agassiz Walk for ALS a success, Edmondson is drawing from her previous experience with other fundraisers. She’s already planned an opening prayer by Paster Jim Flom, and has asked singer Andrew Putt to provide musical entertainment.

But she is also looking for sponsors, large and small. Anyone who would like to help is asked to call Edmondson right away. And of course, every walk needs participants.

Even though the event is in June, it’s time to start collecting pledges already, she says. Pledge forms are available online, along with more information about ALS and ALS research.

Edmondson is hoping to draw participants from Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Chilliwack and even Mission. The 5 km walk will move throughout Agassiz. Registration will start at noon on June 15 and the walk will begin at 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Deanne Edmondson at agassizwalk@alsbc.ca or 604-796-2806.

Q&A: What are symptoms of ALS?

Editor’s note: The following question and answer piece was provided by the ALS Society of B.C.

Q. Why is ALS sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

A: Many years ago, Lou Gehrig was known as professional baseball’s

“Ironman.”  With strength, agility, and excellent health, Gehrig had everything it took to become a baseball legend. At the peak of his career, he was diagnosed as having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and died two years later, at age 39.

Q. What are the early symptoms of ALS?

A. ALS usually becomes apparent either in the legs, arms, throat or upper chest area. Some people begin to trip and fall, some lose the use of their hands and arms, some find it hard to swallow and some slur their speech.

Since the disease frequently takes its toll before being positively diagnosed, many patients are debilitated before learning they have ALS. The disease wreaks a devastating effect on patients as well as their families.

As they struggle to cope with the prospect of advancing disability and death, ALS patients may find their financial, physical and emotional resources exhausted. It is a costly disease in its later stages — demanding both expensive nursing care and equipment.

Q. How do you “catch” ALS?

A. ALS cannot be “caught” – it is not contagious. In 90 per cent of cases, ALS strikes people with no family history of the disease. Only 10 per cent of cases are classified as familial or inherited. It may occur at any age, with the risk increasing as people grow older. However, many people are struck down in the prime of life.

Q. What needs to be done to beat ALS?

A. Although recent research has resulted in significant breakthroughs, more is needed to find a cure, but research costs money.

Q. Is there hope for people with ALS?

A. Yes, thanks to recent advances in research and drug therapies.

Q. What is the ALS Society of BC?

A. Established in 1981, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of BC is a non-profit society.

It was founded by ALS patients, their family members and caregivers, and health care professionals to meet the physical and emotional needs of those living with ALS.

Q. What does the Society do?

A. The ALS Society of BC raises funds for both research and to provide direct services and support to those currently living with ALS.

Until a cure is found, the society provides patient services to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with this disease by offering an extensive equipment loan program, support groups, and educational materials.

Patients are referred to the Society by neurologists and other healthcare professionals, particularly those at the ALS Centre at G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.

Working together as partners, G.F. Strong team and the Society are dedicated to enhancing each patient’s quality of life.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read