Gilles Martel’s Story

If a person with ALS can come out and do the walk, then we can at least do the walk with them

“I have been doing the ALS walk in Charlevoix for 8 years now and I will keep doing it until there is a cure.”

“We are a small community of about 30,000 but I have known 3 people already that have been affected by ALS, and one of them was my friend who had just lost his mother the year before to ALS. Can you imagine how he felt when he was diagnosed?”

Gilles walks for his friend and for others—to remember and honour them. Every year, he starts preparing for the Walk in March by signing up his volunteer team of 8 or 9 people that help coordinate the event. The walk avenue is booked well in advance and then the fundraising starts about 2 months ahead of the event, with calls and emails to possible donors.

“It does tend to be the same people each year that donate, including the companies that sponsor the walk but I have to say that they are very generous people,” says Gilles, whose volunteer team is also well supported by local newspapers and radio stations. Gilles would like to eventually use the Internet to raise funds by setting donation goals.

According to Gilles, the most difficult aspect of the event is probably asking the companies for money because he lives in such a small community but the cause is good and they spread the word and make it happen.

“We are a small community but we manage to do something,” says Gilles. “A walk is very easy to organize and it is even easier to participate in. If a person with ALS can come out and do the walk, then we can at least do the walk with them. What is best about the event is that it brings us together. It is not hard to do and it is such a terrible disease that it is worth raising money to help make a difference.”

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