‘Walk Your Way’: Annual ALS event spreads out around county

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter will kick off its 2020 Walk to Defeat ALS Sunday, the nonprofit’s 20th annual fundraising walk, as a virtual fundraiser due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The fundraiser is free and open to the public.

Proceeds will benefit the chapter’s programs and services provided to local families living with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord.

There is no cure, cause or life-prolonging treatments for ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankees slugger who died from ALS in 1941. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis. According to the association, life expectancy for a person with ALS is within two to five years of diagnosis of initial symptoms.

The theme for the 2020 Walk to Defeat ALS 2020 is “Walk Your Way,” a nod to the different ways supporters can participate virtually while maintaining physical distance and still raising money for a cure, according to Steve Becvar, executive director of the ALS Association Greater San Diego chapter.

“For nearly 20 years, the Walk to Defeat ALS has been held at Mission Bay’s De Anza Cove, but this year we’re encouraging our 2,000 regular attendees to choose their own way to walk — whether it’s a stroll in their neighborhoods, at a park or beach or mountain hike, or even on a treadmill,” Becvar said.

“This year, choose when and where you want to walk on event day, anywhere you will be safe and comfortable with friends, families, colleagues or neighbors. Without geographical or time restrictions, the potential is there to involve more people than ever before.”

The 2020 fundraising goal is $300,000, and a minimum donation of $90 is requested to qualify for a walk t-shirt.

Becvar said some supporters are planning creative ways to participate in the 2020 Walk to Defeat ALS, including planning a scavenger hunt for their fellow walkers, drawing messages on neighborhood sidewalks with colored chalk, decorating a car with balloons and streamers and driving around town and posting their walk photos and videos of activities on social media channels using the hashtag #SanDiegoWalktoDefeatALS.

“We’re excited to hear about hundreds of mini-walks that will happen simultaneously on Oct. 18 throughout San Diego County,” Becvar said. “We are committed to do our best because we want a cure and to support the individuals, families and caregivers affected by ALS.”

The Greater San Diego Chapter, chartered in February 2013, is one of 39 chapters nationwide. The San Diego chapter works with the ALS Clinic at the University of California San Diego. Learn more here.

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