Every year since 2008, a walk has been held at the Virginia Beach oceanfront in honor of Josh Thompson, a man loved nothing more than surfing and going to the beach with his family; unfortunately, seven years ago, JT was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic-Lateral-Sclerosis). Sunday, Oct. 6, the 6th Annual ALS JT Walk will take place in remembrance of JT and in support of ALS research.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, begins with progressive muscle weakening and difficulty speaking, and eventually leads to paralysis and an inability to speak. This terrible disease is caused by dying nerve cells and can be genetic. Studies show four possible causes for this: gene mutation, chemical imbalances, disorganized immune response and protein mishandling. The onset of ALS will usually occur at an older age, and it can occur in both men and women. Currently, Riluzole is the only medication for ALS.
As of Saturday, Oct. 5, JT Walk has 85 percent of the anticipated number of walkers participating in the event, and they have already reached their donation goal of $1,200,000. Proceeds go to ALS research and JT’s Camp Grom, a camp for people of all ages with disabilities as well as wounded warriors and families of fallen heroes.
The schedule for the event is available on the JT Walk website. In the morning, breakfast goodies will be provided, along with live music performances. During the walk, activities available include a playground, face painting, snacks, bounce houses and plenty of live musical entertainment. Finally, kids will engage in the King Neptune Treasure Hunt.
Interested in getting involved and supporting this cause? You can join an existing team of walkers or create your own by signing up online. One note of caution, however: some of the walk teams on the website have asterisks next to them, indicating that 100 percent of their proceeds go to stem cell research for ALS. If you want to know more about this before deciding, you can learn about stem cell research or contact the organization at this site.