Join Lisas Cure Posse for ALS walk

Lisa Olsson, 44, was diagnosed with ALS in May 2004. She encourages local residents to join her team, Lisa’s Cure Posse, to raise funds for finding a cure for the disease.

The Portland Walk to Defeat ALS will be held this Sunday. It's not too late to join the efforts to raise money to fight this disease.

You can join those walking in support of Lake Oswego resident and ALS sufferer Lisa Olsson. Calling themselves Lisa's Cure Posse, and numbering more than 80 members, Olsson's team is made up of her family members and many friends. Twelve-year-old son Andrew has recruited some of his friends to the posse, too. Andrew attends Waluga Junior High School.

'Although I've participated in this walk in the past, this is the first year that a team has been organized for me. As my body fails me, my spirit and optimism compensates … It's exciting for me to visualize a large, energetic team with fundraising success!' she said.

Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. From the point of diagnosis, the life expectancy of a patient with ALS is two to five years. Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes, someone is lost to the disease. The financial cost to families of people with ALS can surpass $200,000 annually, depleting entire savings of patients and relatives. ALS can strike anyone at anytime. The disease knows no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.

'I expect to utilize the resources of the ALS Association for many years - such as the wheelchair that was provided to me recently,' Olsson said.

Sunday's Walk to Defeat ALS offers an empowering opportunity for patients, family members, friends, companies and organizations to raise significant funds to support comprehensive patient service programs and cutting edge research.

Olsson, who has had ALS for four years, will be riding in a wheelchair provided by the ALS Association on Sunday.

'I can't walk the three miles,' she said. 'So I am very grateful for the wheelchair.'

By participating in the walk, both walkers and donors directly impact the lives of those affected by ALS as well as spread awareness for this devastating disease and the urgent need to find treatments and a cure.

'I want people to get a good understanding of this disease and how horrid it is,' said Olsson. 'Our goal is to raise $5,000. We just need money to pay for research to find a cure.'

Olsson says she hopes people will join in the walk or make a donation.

Registration for the three-mile non-competitive walk begins at 11 a.m. and opening ceremonies start at noon. The walk begins at the East Bank Esplanade along the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

'Anticipating this fun event gives me hope and courage in facing this life-changing journey,' she said. 'Please share this message with your friends, family and coworkers, etc.'

For more information about the walk, call 800-681-9851 or visit the Web site at .