Wendy Toyer is hoping her hometown will make her proud, by getting behind a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.
Toyer, originally from Agassiz, is now the executive director of the ALS Society of B.C. and Yukon. She is hoping that this community will join other Fraser Valley cities holding a Walk for ALS in June of this year.
There are at least 14 people living with ALS in the surrounding area, she said, and for each patient there are numerous others affected by this disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rapidly progressive, neuromuscular disease. It attacks the motor neurons that transmit electrical impulses from the brain to the voluntary muscles in the body. When they fail to receive messages, the muscles lose strength, atrophy and die. Lou Gehrig, a professional baseball player, was diagnosed at age 37 with ALS and died two years later.
ALS can strike anyone at anytime, regardless of age, gender, or ethnic origin. It does not affect the senses, and only rarely does it affect the mind. The equipment costs for each patient average $137,000, while nursing and home care costs can be up to 10 times this amount.
The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years.
Toyer said a walk will require a few dedicated volunteers willing to take on the coordination of the event. There will be volunteer training.
For more information on how to help Toyer create an Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs Walk for ALS, phone 1-800-708-3228 or visit www.alsbc.ca.