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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas - Participants in Saturday’s Walk to Defeat ALS head toward East Hill Elementary School.

Joshua Thomas -Barbara Corrigan, one of the group members who founded the annual Walk to Defeat ALS, sells raffle tickets.

Joshua Thomas - Relatives of Bill Wheeler, for whom the annual Walk to Defeat ALS was formed, from left: Chris, Liz and Barbara Wheeler.

Joshua Thomas - Walk to Defeat ALS organizer Jeff Mickle points walkers in the direction of the one and three mile courses.

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Sixth Walk to Defeat ALS raises $12,000

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - Updated: 9:55 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE — Saturday morning, the sixth annual Walk to Defeat ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) raised $12,000, adding to the over $100,000 raised since the first event in 2007. Participants departed the Canajoharie High School at 10 a.m., many in ponchos, umbrellas held high, to walk either the one mile, or three mile course.

A core group, including Pete and Kim Lawrence, Barbara Wheeler, Jeff Mickle and Barbara Corrigan, came together after the death of their friend/relative Bill Wheeler in 2006 to organize an event that would raise money and awareness while honoring Bill’s memory.

Pete Lawrence said, “our goal really was to raise awareness about the disease,” but, “each year, we’re surprised by the amount of money that comes in.” Though Lawrence noted that the group is proud to have founded such a successful event, he says that the annual walk “is also really sad for us, because each year, somebody new around us has been affected by ALS.”

Many people have attended the ALS walk annually, including Fort Plain resident Gary Elliott, who walks each year in honor of his sister, Carol Elliott, of Richmond, Virginia. Carol, diagnosed 12 years ago (an astonishing fact, as 80 percent of those diagnosed with ALS succumb to the disease within 2.5-5 years), has provided endless inspiration for the Elliott family, and Gary noted that in 2010, he participated first in the Canajoharie walk, and then travelled to Richmond, VA, to participate in another ALS walk the following weekend.

Many attend the event for very personal reasons, often in honor of loved ones, including Barbara Wheeler, Bill Wheeler’s mother. Barbara annually bakes a variety of items for walkers. She also provides a coffee cake to raffle in the Chinese auction. “It feels really good,” to be able to participate in raising money and awareness, Barb said, noting of her son’s friends that organized the event in his memory, “They’ve done a really good job.”

Of Bill, Barbara continued, “He was quite a guy. Very personable, outgoing, loved sports,” stating of herself and additional present family members, “We’re happy to do this. It gives me something to do to honor him. We miss him every day.”

Of ALS, ALS Association Care Services Coordinator Kate Caven stated, “It’s important to educate everybody about this horrible disease, because there is no cure and we don’t know what causes it.” At Caven’s table, there was a wealth of information available, along with letters to senators asking for more ALS funding, Paralyzed Veterans Association information, and information about the National ALS Registry.

Events like Saturday’s are “very important to get out to the public,” said Caven, continuing, “if there are people with ALS in this area, please contact us. We cover 48 counties in New York State, and we’re here to help you, advocate for you, help you find services — anything you need.”

Information about the disease, and how you can help to fight it, can be obtained by visiting: http://www.alsa.org/.

Joshua Thomas - Umbrellas held high, participants depart the Canajoharie High School.

Joshua Thomas - ALS Association Care Services Coordinator Kate Caven provided information.

A walk in the rain to defeat ALS.

     

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