Ottawa’s largest 'Walk to End ALS' took place Saturday. Leading the walk this year, was 30-year-old Stephanie Christiansen.
Christiansen was diagnosed with ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis two years ago when she was 28-year-old. The mother of three young children says the disease affects her daily life. “They are 6, 7, and 8 so it gets hard. Mobility has gotten difficult. I have a cane and a walker and a wheelchair.”
Despite having ALS, she has made it her mission to use her journey with the disease to end the stigma and create a conversation.
Christiansen says she is sharing her story publically, “because I have a voice! I feel like I was put on this earth to speak and talk about ALS and open up that conversation. If we don’t talk about it we are not going to find a cure.”
Approximately 1,200 participants took part in the walk at Lebreton Flats Saturday.
Final totals are still being calculated but the Walk to End ALS in Ottawa surpassed their goal of $225,000 raising over $239,000.
Funds raised will go towards important research, and to fund the services and expensive equipment that the ALS Canada provides as people with ALS require it.
ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease is a motor neuron disease that gradually paralyzes people. It has no cure. According to ALS Canada, “the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will. Over time, as the muscles of the body break down, someone living with ALS will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and eventually breathe.
Donations are still being accepted in support of a ALS research at walktoendals.ca