Today we are celebrating the 2017 Hinton WALK for ALS Ambassador Peter Benders and his inspiring dedication to raising awareness in his community.
“Hi, my name is Peter Benders. I am 67-years-old and have been living in the Edson area for 38 years. I have worked as an electrician in the oil field. I retired at 65 and started working on all of the unfinished projects at home. This lasted for about a year, but later that summer I noticed slight muscle twitching in my arms. In addition, I began to experience cramps in my hands and arms, and some muscle weakening. Shortly after my first symptoms, I saw my doctor who was not taking any chances and referred me to a neurologist. The test results were not positive at the time, but she wanted to see me back in six months. At that time she told me “I hope I am wrong, but I think it is ALS,” and referred me to the ALS Clinic at the University of Alberta Hospital where the diagnosis was confirmed. Still not knowing how bad this disease actually was, I was undergoing more tests. The first time I met with the ALS team I was asked questions like “Can you still eat, breath, talk, look after yourself, etc.” I then knew what I was facing.
Fortunately for me the progression of my ALS journey has been relatively slow. I always had love for motorcycles and the outdoors which gave me the opportunity to see this beautiful country from the seat of a motorcycle and from the top of the mountain.
With all of this in mind and the help of the ALS Society of Alberta, the ALS team at the University of Alberta, Edson Healthcare Group, the love of my friends and family and the support of Mikael Backlund with the Calgary Flames who helped in #MakingitPossible for me and my family to go to the Flames vs. LA game in February; all of this inspires me to continue and be thankful for the life I have lived and to make the best of each day I have left.
The love and support of my family, most of them in the Netherlands and the financial support by Canadians gives me hope that one day we will find a cure. The WALK for ALS is extremely important in raising the awareness of this disease. Hope to see you all at the Hinton WALK for ALS on Sept. 10, 2017. Thank you.” – Peter Benders