The ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Cycle of Hope ride arrived at its final destination in Keremeos Wednesday, August 13.
The group congregated in front of the Infocentre sign upon their arrival in Keremeos, sharing an emotional few minutes with each other as they ended their eight day journey.
The ride’s mission, to raise ALS awareness and inspire hope for families living with ALS, appears to be achieving its’ goal. In just three years the ride has gone from $5,000 raised in the first year to over $55,000 this year. Ride co- founder Cindy Lister was pleased and excited about this year’s success.
“We have 12 riders this year, a few of whom rode with us last year,” Lister said shortly after her arrival in Keremeos around 10:30 a.m.
“Each rider has been affected by ALS to some degree. Everyone here has a story to tell.”
Lister said the group cycled 520 kilometres from Kamloops to Keremeos, as well as participating in two community rides in Kelowna of 30 and 70 kilometres respectively. She traced the success of the tour’s fundraising, noting the first year the ride raised $5,000.
“Last year, our goal was $20,000, and we raised $42,000,” she explained. “This year, we hoped to raise $50,000, and so far we’ve raised $55,000.
The ALS Cycle of Hope decided last year to make Keremeos the terminus of the ride. The group was greeted by acting Mayor Charlene Cowling, in addition to Lower Mainland resident Neil McComb, his wife, Shannon, and their son, Carter. Neil’s family raised $20,000 on their own this year.
“My brother has ALS,” Neil explained, “he was diagnosed a year and a half ago.
“We participated in the Kelowna ride last year, with 13 family members turning out.
This year 25 of us took part in the 30 kilometre ride. My son Carter also participated in the 30 kilometre ride and raised $6,000.
“Our goal is to support my brother – this event gives our family something to rally around.”
ALS is also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Charcot disease, and, in the United States, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Itis a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. It is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea).
Funds raised through the Cycle of Hope will help fund breakthrough research into treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS and will go towards the purchase of a powered wheelchair for ALS Society of British Columbia. – See more at: http://www.cycleofhope.ca/#sthash.EktsblJf.dpuf