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A-T Walk is fun for important cause

atwalkolivefamily

The journey to find a cure for a deadly disease that attacks children continues every year in the countryside near Fort Macleod.
The annual A-T Walk for a Cure, which over the past 18 years has raised more than $1-million for research for a cure for a rare genetic disease that attacks children.
“We never expected it,”
organizer Conrad Van Hierden said of the walk’s enduring popularity. “The research is steady, moving
forward. That’s what keeps us going.”
Ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T as it is more commonly known, is a rare genetic disease described as having cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, immune deficiencies, muscular dystrophy and cancer all rolled into one.
Conrad and Rhonda Van Hierden started the A-T Walk for a Cure after their son Randy, who died in November 2004, was diagnosed with the disease.
“Probably the positive thing is that we never set any big goals,” Conrad Van Hierden said. “We thought as long as we had a
positive outcome every year we would keep going.”
Area residents have helped raise an average of more than $60,000 a year by collecting pledges and then taking part in the five-kilometre walk.
“We’re very thankful for the support,” Van Hierden said.
That money goes directly to research grants, which average about $35,000 apiece.
The 2018 event begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 16 with a bike ride of 50 or 83 kilometres. Call Brendan Grant at 403-627-8793.
Registration for the A-T Walk for a Cure and the silent auction begins at 10:30 a.m.
The walk gets under way at 11:30 a.m., followed by a barbecue and awards and a post walk party.
Entertainment includes the Astro Jump, a balloon toss, wall climb, water spray, antique trucks, a race car and a petting zoo.
For information call Conrad Van Hierden at 403-634-2625 or e-mail conradvh@telus.net.

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