Ever since Evans’ death, the Buckhead resident and her daughter Caitlin have served as co-captains of For the Love of Louie, a team for the Atlanta Walk to Defeat ALS.
“It was a 10-year battle with ALS, and at the end, he [Evans] couldn’t really talk or walk. That’s the horrible thing about ALS. You lose all function except for your brain,” Caitlin, of Reynoldstown, said. Last year, the 2.5-mile walk generated $450,000, which is the association’s largest fundraiser, according to Walk Coordinator Liza Nordmark, who lost her grandmother Irene Leard to ALS. This year’s goal is $535,000 and all proceeds go directly to the ALS Association of Georgia.
“It is the primary means the association relies on for patient services to almost 500 families in Georgia affect by ALS,” Nordmark, of Buckhead, said. “That number changes all the time.” She said there are about 165 teams of people walking so far and residents can still sign up.
“When you’ve been very close to someone whose gone through this and you come to this event with so many people gathered there for the same reason, out of love for these people with ALS, emotionally, it’s an overwhelming experience,” Andie, of Buckhead, said. “For so many people, it’s an issue that’s very close to their hearts. I am just very grateful to have some way to express that and give hope in a practical way.”
Caitlin and Andie said they are excited for their grandmother and mother, Colleen Evans, who lives in California, to walk with the team for the first time.
“She was really my grandfather’s caregiver until the very end,” Caitlin said. “People just don’t realize the toll it takes on people caring for those with ALS, because it is just all consuming.”
Andie added, “Those who commit themselves to those who have ALS truly are heroic.”
Before the walk, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, Nordmark said there will be kickoff festivities like face painting and performances by Georgia State University cheerleaders.