With ALS Awareness Month coming up in June, you, your kids and furry family members are invited to take part in the third annual Walk for ALS, to help raise awareness and funds for research.

ALS Double Play (www.alsdoubleplay.com) will host the five-kilometre Intentional Walk on June 9 at the Markham Civic Centre (101 Town Centre Blvd.). Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the ceremonies and walk at 10 a.m. The event features a kids village, complete with face painting, an inflatable slide and balloons. Pets on a leash are welcome.

Build a team with your family, friends and/or coworkers. Sign up by 11:59 p.m. on May 25 for early bird rates. Click here to register or donate. Fundraisers and attendees can win two Air Canada flight passes to anywhere the airline flies in North America, including Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean and select sun destinations.

Funds from the event will support the Christopher Chiu Fellowship for ALS research at the University of Toronto, where ALS Double Play funds Dr. Philip McGoldrick.

“Research is critical with a disease like ALS, as there is still no cure nor effective treatment,” says Cherrie-Marie Chiu, ALS Double Play founder. “Essentially, when someone becomes sick with ALS, there is nothing we can do for them today, except keep them comfortable.”

ALS rarely affects the brain, so as a person with the disease begins to see their muscles deteriorate, they are no longer able to walk, talk, or eat; but they still think and feel as they always have.

ALS, which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Motor Neuron Disease. About 1,000 Canadians are diagnosed with ALS each year and about 3,000 live with the disease at any time. The disease can affect anyone and 80 per cent of those diagnosed die within two to five years – though advances in research provide an increasing source of hope.