Walk for ALS: A Very Heartfelt Thank You

Adapted from descriptions by Michelle Ross and Brenda Mays

Edited by Paolo Garcia

August 27th in Bentonville was a hot and humid day; vendors lined the streets and the smell of grilled hot dogs permeated the air. Beautiful blue and white balloon arches decorated the Compton Garden area where the community gathered to hear announcements. Our participating team members for the ALS Walk and their four-legged friends stopped to enjoy some ice-cold water before the start of the event. They were all there to support both the cause and a very special person.

My mother was diagnosed with ALS in November of 2015, so this walk has a place in my heart. As an employee of A. Yumang Rehab Services, I soon discovered that my coworkers are more than just work acquaintances: they are my work family. When Ray Yumang asked what we as a company would like to do in 2016 during a meeting, I suggested that we participate in the Northwest Arkansas Walk to Defeat ALS. When the idea was approved, Ray decided to host "Team Cheryl," named after my mother. Since we didn't know who would donate or how much to expect, I set a goal of $300.

When the day of the walk came, anyone could see that it was quite an event. Memorial signs with names and pictures of those who have lost the battle to this disease lined the walkway. There was a special rendition of our national anthem and awards were given to the teams with the most participants or most donations. My family was overwhelmed by the amount of support our team received. We didn't just reach our goal, we tripled it to $955! In addition to that, the overall donation goal set by the organizers of the walk was surpassed, receiving $386,895.77 total in donations!

Following the walk, all of our team members posed for pictures and some even got together to play a bit of soccer. My family was blessed with an amazing team for the walk; they didn't just help support the cause, they supported my family. All of the prayers, donations, and support have shown me how very blessed I am to work with such a great group of people. No words can express how much gratitude I have for all of the participants of this event. Even though our team went their separate ways after the walk, it is clear that we remain united as a community to fight diseases like ALS.