“I formed a team to walk in the ALS Walk in Macon in memory of my husband,” Nancy Morris said. “I did it in 2004, the year he died.”
The team was originally called “Cletus’ Cohort” in memory of Cletus Morris, but she included a second name, “Paul’s Pals,” after Paul Ragan, who also died of ALS.
She said there are four people in Spalding, Pike and Lamar counties who are living with ALS; over the last five to six years, 21 people in the area have died.
“That has affected 26 families,” she said. “It’s not as common as Alzheimer’s or cancer or heart disease but the effects are devastating for those who it does affect.”
She said the registration for the event begins at 8:30 a.m., with a program beginning at 9:30 a.m. At 10 a.m., the three-mile walk along the banks of the Ocmulgee River will begin.
“It’s a beautiful walk, and it’s handicapped-accessible,” she said.
The purpose of the walk is to raise funds for the ALS Association, which she said was a big help to her husband when he was diagnosed. She said the organization sends someone to the homes of the newly diagnosed to inform them about what is going on and how best to make their home more accommodating. This can be as simple as putting handrails in the tub or as elaborate as building a custom wheelchair and providing a voice synthesizer for those whose condition is more advanced.
She said the disease typically takes two to five years to kill. Her husband died within a year from a heart attack, although the disease cost him his voice in the meantime. Thus far, her team has raised $2,500, a significant increase from the first year when she raised only $600. Her team’s fund-raising goal for the year is $3,000. Those interested in donating should do it online at www.alsaga.org.
She said the monies are used for research into treating ALS. She said human trials are beginning for a treatment using stem cells.
“That seems to me to be the thing that’s most promising, in terms of treatment,” she said.