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A-T Walk for a Cure continues Saturday

The journey toward a treatment or cure for a rare genetic disease continues Saturday, June 20 near Fort Macleod.
The 17th annual A-T Walk For a Cure will raise money for research into ataxia-telangiectasia, a genetic disease that attacks early in childhood, progressively effecting co-ordination, compromising the immune system and predisposing the patient to fatal cancers.
Patients with A-T, which attacks children of all race an ethnicity, are usually unable to walk by age 10 and often do not live beyond their teens.
The A-T Walk For a Cure has raised more than $1-million to fund research.
The day begins at 7:30 a.m. at Hilltop Dairy north of Fort Macleod on Secondary Highway 811 with registration for 50-kilometre and 83-kilometre bike rides that get under way at 8 a.m.
Registration for the walk is at 10:30 a.m., with people heading on a five-kilometre route at 11 a.m.
A barbecue at Hilltop Dairy follows the bike ride and walk at 11:30 a.m., with prizes awarded to the people who raise the most money.
There is also a silent auction, prizes, bake sale, pony rides, children’s play area, petting zoo, face-painting, bounce houses and a candy toss.
Conrad and Rhonda Van Hierden founded the A-T Walk For a Cure after their son Randy was diagnosed with A-T.
The 2015 walk is held in memory of Randy, who died in 2004, and in honour of Alex Olive, who was diagnosed three years ago with A-T.
Money raised Saturday will go to the A-T Children’s Project, which funds research.
Scientists at the A-T Clinical Centre at Johns Hopkins University are conducting studies to minimize life-threatening lung complications and reduce eye movement abnormalities and tremors.
Scientists are also working to discover abnormal levels of specific proteins in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with A-T that may lead to new drug targets.
Human cell models for A-T are being developed, and scientists are working to find out how the A-T protein works in brain cells.
The research done on A-T could help all genetic neurological diseases. It has already shed light on cancer, metabolic syndrome and HIV/AIDS.
For information or to donate to the A-T Walk For a Cure contact Conrad or Rhonda Van Hierden at 403-634-2626, conradvh@telus.net or rhondavanh@gmail.com or Katie Forster at 403-715-3087.
For information about the bike ride contact Brendan Grant at bgrant8@telusplanet.net or 403-627-8793.

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