Running for my Dad's life.

On Father's Day 2014, my dad broke the news to me that he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, typically characterized by rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Anyone who knows my dad may understand the mind-boggling thought of imagining him off the ice or the field. His life is a reflection of his passion for athletics and physical & mental fitness.

It is very important that I communicate how healthy my dad is at present; He has gotten back in the gym and is on a strict diet that has him feeling positive and energetic. He is feeling GOOD.

The problem with ALS is that there is no telling when or how fast it will progress. As it goes, my dad will lose the ability to move his arms and legs and eventually he will be in a wheelchair. Later, he will experience difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. ALS is a devestating disease. The biggest problem being that there is no cure (YET!) 

Times of great stress and adversity have a way of teaching us appreciation, sensitivity and a certain understanding of life. My dad's diagnosis has granted me with absolute gratitude for each movement I am able to make each day. I am officially aware of a reality in which movement in his hands, arms and legs are no longer a life-time guarentee.

I would like to make it clear that my dad was not the only one diagnosed with ALS, our family was diagnosed with ALS. A fatal disease does not only impact the person with the disease, it impacts those around them deeply.

Having moved to Europe to spend a year abroad, it is hard knowing my family is across the world and I am unable to [physically] be there for them. What this geographical disadvantage has provided me with is a lot of free time. Over the last few months I have began running, a lot.

I feel a real emotional pleasure while running because it allows me to explore the realities of my physical and mental limitations and most importantly, push past them. My runs each day provide me with incredible clarity. I often think of my dad and his pain and it motivates me to push further and harder.

In honour of my dad & each and every person who has  been affected by ALS, I have decided to run 4 half-marathons in the next 7 months. I will push my body to healthy limits and work harder than I ever have for all of those who are no longer able to do so.

Every dollar that is contributed towards my goal will go directly towards Bob Acton's Journey with ALS.

I will participate in:
1) Brussels Marathon on October 5th, 2014 (Brussels, Belgium)
2) Kasterlee Half Marathon on November 16th, 2014 (Flanders, Belgium)
3) Central Park 1/2 Marathon on February 22nd, 2015 (New York City, USA)
4) Semi Marathon de Paris on March 8th, 2015 (Paris, France)

Please take the time to educate yourself about the disease to help my family and I spread awareness about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Thank you so much for the love and support.

Avery Acton
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Avery Acton 
Toronto, ON
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