An Ottawa woman who is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is spending her remaining time fundraising and on Sunday, the former fitness instructor hosted an event featuring activities she can no longer do.
The aerobic-a-thon featured more than 100 people participating in six different fitness classes in three hours
It was in honour of Siobhan Rock who was a
former school teacher, personal trainer, yoga and fitness instructor before being diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
Rock was featured on CTV’s Amazing People series and said she was overwhelmed by the amount of people raising money and awareness with her.
that we're over 100 right now in the gym and people have been here since 9:30 a.m. working out, sweating, just having a blast,” said Rock.
“She was a great teacher and a great role model for
the kids, always keeping our fitness at the forefront of our education,” said former teaching colleague Barbara Inglis.
ALS is a fatal degenerative disease that causes people to lose the ability
to walk, talk and eventually breathe. Most people are given two to five years to live.
“When I was diagnosed I was walking, within two walks I needed help with a walker, within six months of that
I was in a wheelchair,” said Rock.
The World Health Organization predicts that neurodegenerative diseases, like ALS, will surpass cancer as the second leading cause of death in Canada by 2040.
There is no cure for ALS and approximately 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians are living with the disease, according to ALS Canada. Each day in Canada, two or three people die of the disease.
However, Rock is not focused on the statistics. In fact, she went skydiving.
Money raised from Sunday’s aerobic-a-thon goes toward ALS Canada for research,
support programs and equipment like walkers, wheelchairs and communication aids.
“Clients generally use about $140,000 to $150,000 worth of equipment without our equipment program so we purchase
equipment and we loan it to our clients free of charge to help alleviate those financial costs that come with ALS,” said Lianne Johnston with ALS Canada.
Last year’s event raised around $7,000
and the group hopes to match that this year.
The ALS walk in Ottawa is scheduled for June 15.