The Belleville-Quinte WALK for ALS

For the second year in a row, the Williams family is “trekking for ALS research – boldly going where ALS research needs to go.” These are the words of Scott Williams, who since receiving his ALS diagnosis in 2015, has adapted his love of the Star Trek franchise into a rallying call for the WALK for ALS.

When Scott first experienced symptoms of drop foot, an abnormality in a person’s gait due to weakness in the muscles, it was related to a different condition altogether. He recalls being diagnosed with a disc protrusion in the spine, which was causing the abnormality in his step. When the symptoms progressed rather than improved, Scott was sent to a specialist for an MRI, leading to subsequent tests over the next several months which led to his ALS diagnosis.

Scott and Martha Williams at the Cliffs of Moher“It may be strange to say, but I’m grateful,” says Scott in relation to his ALS diagnosis. “I have a slow progressing form of the disease, so three years in I can still do most things.”

This gratitude and positivity permeates the rest of the Williams family, who are all participating in this year’s Belleville-Quinte WALK for ALS. When asked how the family maintains its positive attitude, Scott’s wife, Martha attributes it to living for the present moment.

“We don’t look too far into the future,” she explains. “We accept where we are at right now, while being realistic about the changes we have to make.”

So far this year, Scott has received a walker, a transport wheelchair, a standard wheelchair which he used while recently on vacation, and a portable scooter from the ALS Canada equipment loan program. While he can still climb the stairs independently, Scott says he weighs out safety versus pride when thinking about what he can and cannot do. For this reason, the family is proactively looking into a stair glide for the home so that they are prepared when Scott can no longer climb the stairs.

“Funding and awareness are so important,” Martha says. “There is a lack of funding for ALS research in Canada, which is why we’re so passionate about the WALK for ALS.”

Last year, Team Scott raised over $6,000 for the Belleville-Quinte WALK for ALS – $4,500 more than their original goal. Their goal for this year is to raise a minimum of $3,500 but they expect more than 30 people to join their team on the day of the WALK.

“The WALK for ALS is like a support group,” says Scott fondly. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and it’s a chance for all of us to do something about ALS.”

Scott and Martha’s daughters, Colleen and Melanie, are both involved with the WALK in equally important ways. Colleen is one of the volunteer coordinators for the Belleville-Quinte WALK for ALS, a role that is imperative to the event’s success. As a WALK for ALS coordinator, Colleen is directly responsible for organizing the event, including recruiting other volunteers, securing sponsorships, generating local awareness and overseeing logistics on the day of the event. Melanie lends her support on the day of the event, volunteering to ensure everything runs smoothly and the event-day experience is a positive one for all involved.

For the Williams family, the WALK for ALS is personal, but they urge everyone with a connection to the cause to get involved and join them next weekend at the Belleville-Quinte WALK for ALS on Saturday, September 15th. Whether you join a team, volunteer, and/or fundraise, the WALK for ALS is a chance to come together and celebrate hope for a future without ALS.

The WALK for ALS takes place in over 90 communities across Canada until September 22, 2018. Register or donate to a WALK near you at Donations for all WALK for ALS events are being accepted until December 31, 2018.

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