Peter Wiehler was surrounded by the community of Agassiz last Saturday

Agassiz ALS walk tops fundraising goal

Agassiz paramedic honoured at first fundraising event

The entire community wrapped its arms around one of its own this Saturday, showing the love for a long-time paramedic who is living with an incurable disease.

Peter Wiehler was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) last year, a devastating disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, affecting voluntary muscles.

News of the diagnosis spread quickly about the well-loved man, father and grandfather, who has worked for 30 years with the BC Ambulance Service, as the family started to adjust to the rapidly progressing disease.

Deanna Edmondson, who shares a grandson with Wiehler and his wife Sharon, had heard of the work that the ALS Society is doing to fight the disease through research funding, patient support and education. She knew that she had to do something. So, she organized Agassiz’s first Walk for ALS, and relentlessly asked for donations of all kinds, to help make the event a success.

It all culminated on Saturday, when about 200 people poured into the gardened patio area of Heritage House Coffee, who donated their space as the walk’s headquarters.

“I was born and raised here, and I have never been as proud of the community as I am now,” Wendy Toyer, Executive Director ALS Society of BC &Yukon said.

Proud of the turnout, but also of the amount raised for the ALS Society.

On Tuesday, donations were still rolling in, but were at $13,623.50, easily topping the original goal of $10,000. And because of the generous donations from the community in the form of food, refreshments, supplies and advertising, every single penny will go toward the society.

“The ALS Society gives organizers seed money for things you might need to buy,” Edmondson said. “Well, I didn’t have to cash my cheque, and Wendy has said that has never happened. Everyone donated everything.”

The cheque, worth $1,000, means phenomenal support from the community. The AESS band played live music, as did Andrew Putt. Pastor Jim Flom spoke to the crowd and led a prayer.

“Thanks, Pete,” Flom said to Wiehler, who watched on with a smile and a tear in his eye. “You helped everyone in the community, and you helped me when I was down and now I want to help you.”

Wiehler’s long history as an emergency responder in the area means he has likely saved the lives of many of his neighbours. And to commemorate his time with the BC Ambulance Service, he was awarded with his 30 Year Award, along with plenty of hugs and kind words from his co-workers.

Part of the money raised came from the Agassiz Fire Department’s annual golf tournament. Fire Chief Wayne Dyer presented Edmondson with a cheque for $2,000.

Before the walk got on its way, the Wiehlers and Edmondsons gathered to release several purple balloons into the air.

Emergency workers all took part in the walk, on foot and in their emergency vehicles.

While the inspiration for holding the walk in Agassiz can be traced back to Wiehler, he is one of about 3,000 Canadians who are living with ALS at any moment, including others in the Upper Fraser Valley.

Edmondson said she is looking forward to planning the same event for next year.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS, sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease- is a devastating terminal disease that destroys the voluntary muscles of the body, and rarely affects the senses. ALS can happen to anyone at anytime.

To learn more, visit www.walkforals.ca.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack and Yarrow libraries in need of reading buddies

The Reading Buddy program helps students in grades one to four develop a love of reading

Hope daycare and preschool project delayed past ‘aggressive ’ September start-date

12 families are waiting for Swetexl, a collaboration between faith, First Nations and education organizations, to open

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Most Read