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L.A. Beat

L.A. Beat helps fight ALS

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 When you think about it, and not to be too morbid about the subject, life itself is a death sentence. There is no escaping it — like taxes, death is the great equalizer, no matter how much money you have or what your socioeconomic status is. The secret is to make life pay for it first — or at least enjoy it — every moment that you can.

 I took a night off from covering the wealth of entertainment happening in Lethbridge this weekend to help a great cause — fighting ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) known to most as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, named after the famous New York Yankees baseball player. So I stayed home Saturday to get up early and go to Calgary to join approximately 1,200 other runners and walkers (including my dad, sister and myself) raising money and awareness about ALS by either walking a five km (we walked) or running a five mile circuit in North Glenmore Park. ALS is a horrible, incurable disease in which the victim’s nerve endings die, which leads to the atrophy of the muscles, the loss of movement, the loss of speech and eventually death after an average of two years. And even worse, the person’s mind remains in perfect condition so they know what’s happening to them but can’t do anything about it. They become and remain prisoners in their own bodies. I should know, because my mom passed away from it, Feb. 29, 2004. She was only diagnosed with it two years previously. I helped drive her down to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester , Minnesota, just to make sure we weren’t mistaken. We weren’t.

 Mom enjoyed life fully. She loved everyone and did everything, she played golf , bridge, squash, tennis, pottery, knitting, crochet. She used to be a nurse and she sold real estate. You name it, she did it. She loved to be active. She even travelled around Saudi Arabia and the Mid East in the 1950s, before she met my dad. That was something she never shared with my sister and I. We found one of her old passports while sorting out her possessions which had stamps from all over the world. You never know.

 While I was living in Kenora at the time, I noticed the disease’s devastating progress every time I got back home at least once a month. That’s why ALS is going to be a charity which L.A. Beat will tirelessly support. Because there is no cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease and very little treatment.  It doesn’t get the attention other diseases like cancer and AIDS get, but is just as deadly. 

 That’s why I was proud to help raise $450,000 in this year’s run which is evenly divided between getting help, not to mention expensive equipment for the victims in the Calgary and southern Alberta area and half towards research to find a cure some day. And while I didn’t raise the amount of money some people did, my own donation helps. Every little bit helps.

It is an ugly way to die — a death you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, so learn more about ALS and help find a cure by going to  the ALS Society of Alberta’s website at www.alsab.ca

Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor 

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