More than 1,000 people have made a commitment and are scheduled to gather at the University of South Florida this month in order to join the fight to find a cure for the deadly illness, ALS.
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, March 8. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and the walk is to begin at 11:00 a.m. at the University of South Florida, l 4202 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa.
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS progressively paralyzes its victims. Local mom, Belinda Poole has ALS and is currently fighting the attack on her nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. ALS has no known cause or cure.
Year after year, residents rally together to raise awareness as well as money. This includes wheelchair-bound patients along with their families and friends who take on a two-mile trek in The Walk to Defeat ALS, hoping their steps will make a difference for ALS patients living in the Tampa Bay area.
“Many who walk have a loved one who is fighting the deadly disease,” said event spokesperson, Alissa C. Gutierrez. “Others walk in memory of a loved one who has lost the battle and there are also those without any personal connection who walk out of a simple concern for those who are suffering with the disease.”
Poole’s fight against the illness is by no means done alone. Supported by friends and family including her husband and two children, she was recently featured on Bay News 9’s Hero of the week. She is also featured on a heart-wrenching YouTube public service announcement, created on her behalf by members of her husband’s motorcycle club.
“The children have also formed their own charity called Kids Quest for Charity to raise money to help find a cure for ALS before it claims their mother’s life,” Gutierrez said.
With only two to five years to live, ALS patients have an urgent need and the community is stepping in to fill it by walking for those who can’t. The Walk is The ALS Association’s signature event in which all funds directly support cutting-edge research, programs and patient care. Last year, ALS events raised nearly $1 million around the state of Florida.
Poole said, “I stay positive and smile no matter what difficulties this disease throws in my path.”
For more information about The ALS Association Florida Chapter, go to www.ALSAFL.org.
Please see Belinda’s video at http://youtu.be/w-pY2sTdB_s. All interested walkers can call 888-257-1717 or register online at www.WalktoDefeatALS.org.