2018 WALK for ALS Ambassador

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The Hinton WALK for ALS is happening on September 9th and we'd like to introduce our 2018 WALK Ambassador for Hinton, Helen Banks.

"My name is Helen Banks and I am honoured to be the ambassador for the 2018 Hinton Walk for ALS. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has taken away much of my mobility and ability to do things for myself. As there is no cure, the Walks for ALS are so important. My wish is that current research will soon provide for early detection and a treatment to slow or stop progression and hopefully someday provide a cure for ALS.

My journey started a few years back with slowly increasing difficulty walking up hills and stairs, loss of balance, stumbling and falling. It’s old age they said! Eventually my doctor decided these weren’t normal and sent me to a couple of neurologists who performed a number of tests with the end result being Dr. Kalra identifying my condition was ALS. Those words threw my family and me into shock.

Immediately a meeting was set up with the ALS team at the University of Alberta/Kaye Edmonton Clinic who shared with us what to expect and how to care for me. We meet regularly with this wonderful group to check my status and advise on actions if necessary. They referred me to the ALS Society who have been beyond words in providing equipment to assist with my mobility issues , personal support and providing a link to the health care systems in Edmonton and Hinton. The Society’s monthly coffee parties provided my husband Jim and me a chance to meet other patients in various stages of the disease and share day to day helpful hints. We plan to stay in touch via Skype.

When my Hinton family, Kim and Ryan Tew, heard of my diagnosis, they wanted to be part of my journey and aid Jim in my care as needed. Together we purchased the Bar-F Ranch House and we moved in June 2017. This has meant that the burden of care has been spread out and we have had some special family times.

We have become familiar with the Hinton Health Care system and have had a very positive experience,meeting knowledgeable and caring practitioners. My Case Manager in Hinton has been very responsive and made many suggestions that have really helped.

Although ALS has taken away my mobility and ability to do things, I try to keep this adventure as positive as I can, enjoying my family and friends and the beautiful scenery of Hinton and Jasper."

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Helen and we will see you all at the Hinton WALK for ALS!