Nanaimo resident Bill Turner is setting the pace for this year’s Mid-Island Walk for ALS.
Turner, who was diagnosed with ALS last year, has taken on the job of coordinating the three-kilometre charity fundraiser, set to run June 7.
The walk is one of the longest-standing fundraisers for the ALS Society of B.C. and all about building awareness of the fatal neuromuscular disease that affects 400 people across the province. All of the proceeds raised will go toward research and patient services, according to Turner.
Turner was diagnosed last year with ALS, a disease his mother and aunt also had. He doesn’t like having it, but he isn’t prepared to quit.
That’s a lesson learned from Serge Vaillancourt, a Nanaimo man who shared his journey with ALS through the News Bulletin in 2014. Turner came across an article a couple weeks after his own diagnosis and got in touch with Vaillancourt. He also took part in a beer and burger fundraiser for the Walk for ALS and decided he’d get involved the following year.
“I learned from Serge that you don’t quit. You keep on going. He was a wonderful man and I was very sad when he passed away,” Turner said. “Serge’s desire to help and improve the ALS situation for anybody as well as the organ transplant is something that I look up to and I’m going to try to carry on from his example.”
He’s also looking to give back to the ALS society and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. The aim is to see $40,000 raised in this year’s walk.
“Please come out and raise funds for ALS,” Turner said. “It’s not a sad day. It’s a day to laugh and enjoy each other’s company and life in itself.”
Registration starts 11 a.m. June 7 at Parksville city hall on Jensen Avenue East.