140 walkers take part in the 2019 Walk to End ALS in Williams Lake on June 22, 2019. (R Dyok, MyCaribooNow.com staff)
The 9th annual Walk to End ALS in Williams Lake will be going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally scheduled for June 6 in Boitano Park, the Walk will take place virtually with other communities across B.C. on Saturday, June 20.
“What we’re hoping to is to live stream people, families doing their walk while practicing physical distancing of course and then we’ll post those directly on to the website,” said Wendy Toyer, executive director of the ALS Society of BC.
“And this is happening all across Canada.”
As people living with ALS are already immunocompromised, Toyer said they did not want to encourage a gathering of any sort during this time.
“However this is our single largest fundraiser of the year and it’s not something that we could cancel otherwise we’d be devastated financially,” she said.
“As well I think people will use this opportunity as a time to come together even be it virtually and reach out and be there for each other during this very difficult time that we’re all facing.”
Toyer said Williams Lake residents can still visit the local Walk to End ALS page and donate online.
“And that money will be allocated to the community of Williams Lake; all the walk locations from previous years are still listed on the website so you can actually support the walk that you want to,” she added.
“If you haven’t participated in a Walk before and you’re not part of the Williams Lake community you can also click on what we call the virtual tab and then you can still participate virtually, so we’re hoping that this will increase participation throughout British Columbia this year and help those who need it the most and that’s people living with ALS.”
Recalling the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, Toyer said the ALS Society is not a stranger to virtual events.
“It was unplanned, it was something that just went through the social media airwaves and went worldwide and it was hugely successful…,” she said of the Ice Bucket Challenge. “We’re hoping this year the Walk to End ALS will be as successful as the Ice Bucket Challenge.”