Dozens took part in a home-made march at Merkley Park in Maple Ridge to raise funds to fight ALS on Saturday, June 20., 2020. (Courtesy Erin Sands)

Marching for Mike in Maple Ridge: a homegrown ALS fundraiser

‘We were so upset when they cancelled the walk, so we held our own’ daughter says

Several dozen people took part in a homegrown march in Maple Ridge to raise funds to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on Saturday, June 21, walking in the rain around Merkley Park to honour the memory of Mike Sands, who passed from the illness five years ago.

Daughter Erin Sands said the walk was to honour her dad as well as a friend Randy Walters, who also lost his battle several years ago.

The sun may not have been shining, but it still was a beautiful day,” Sands said in an online posting.

“I miss you and love you Michael Sands.”

This year, the annual ALS walk was called off because of concerns about COVID-19 and a virtual event was substituted by ALS Canada.

“We were so upset when they cancelled the walk, so we held our own,” Erin told the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News.

READ MORE: Sands took on ALS with positivity

READ MORE: Sands of time, a chronicle of courage

READ MORE: Maple Ridge resident wins ALS Exceptional Advocacy Award

She said efforts were made to maintain proper social distancing at the event.

This year, instead of t shirts, “I Like Mike and Randy” baseball caps were for sale for $20 each, all proceeds going to the ALS society in their name.

They have managed to raise about $1,000 as of Sunday, and Erin is hoping the amount will increase.

“It is overwhelming how much love and support we have received over the years and I am hoping to keep the enthusiasm all of you have for finding a cure and helping patients with ALS,” she commented online.

Anyone who wants to contribute is directed to the ALS Canada website.

“They helped my dad so much,” Erin said.

Her Maple Ridge event was held the day before ALS Canada’s Walk to End ALS virtual event, which raised an estimated $950,000 on Sunday. June 21.

ALS is a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body.

Over time, as the muscles of the body break down, someone living with ALS will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually breathe.

There are no effective treatments for ALS and no cure.

Approximately 80 per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of being diagnosed.

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