Teams Raise Awareness for ALS at Annual Walk 

ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis might sound unfamiliar to you. But for many of these walkers it’s a disease they know all too well.”As we get older nerves die but with ALS they die very quickly so you lose the ability to use your arms and legs, you lose your speech, your ability to swallow, to breathe,” explained Chairperson Janice VonBrook.At Bangor’s Walk to Defeat ALS, most of the teams are walking with someone in mind. In this fourth year of the walk, teams have raised money in order to raise awareness for the disease and hope for a cure.”Everytime somebody asks someone about making a donation, they’re raising the awareness of the disease so people learn a little more about it,” said VonBrook.”A lot of people don’t know what it is. It’s a terrible debilitating disease that just takes over the body and it is just a horrid disease. So the more awareness we can get to raise the money to hopefully find a cure,” said Avis Jenkins, who has participated in the walk for the past four years.The money raised at this walk goes to the Northern New England Chapter of the ALS Association. It helps fund local research.”There is no cure for ALS but I’m one of the researchers and we’re working on it. New developments are occurring everyday. New genes are being identified,” said Greg Cox, Associate Professor at the Jackson Laboratory.Research like this and the community’s support give the walkers hope. “There is a lot of hope I think and we’re making progress everyday,” said Cathleen Lutz, Associate Director of Genetic Resource Sciences at the Jackson Laboratory.Together the teams hope they can help make progress so that ALS can be defeated once and for all.