Run for a cause

Thea Pe­nashue rais­ing money for ALS

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY [email protected]

For Thea Pe­nashue, the last five kilo­me­tres of her half-marathon run on Oct. 13 were the hard­est.

Pe­nashue was run­ning to sup­port the ALS So­ci­ety.

“My legs didn’t want to run the last five kilo­me­tres but I kept go­ing .... and the last one kilo­me­tre I re­ally wanted to walk. When your body is telling you to stop but your mind is telling you to keep go­ing, it’s def­i­nitely dif­fi­cult,” Pe­nashue said dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Pe­nashue pushed on know­ing her 21 km run — which started at her grand­mother’s (Eliz­a­beth Pe­nashue) cabin at Gosling Lake and ended at the RCMP build­ing in She­shat­shiu — was in mem­ory of her grand­fa­ther, Fran­cis Pe­nashue. The well-known and re­spected Innu el­der and for­mer She­shat­shiu chief died of ALS on Sept. 12, 2013. He was 74 years old. Pe­nashue said she will al­ways re­mem­ber her grand­fa­ther’s great sense of hu­mour.

“My grand­fa­ther and my grand­mother were al­ways play­ing jokes... they were al­ways want­ing to make their grand­chil­dren laugh .... any­thing to keep them happy and laugh­ing,” she said.

Pe­nashue also com­pleted a run for ALS in 2017. This year’s run brought in over $8,000. When com­bined with last year’s event, the Pe­nashue fam­ily has raised al­most $14,000 for the cause.

Pe­nashue is thank­ful for her par­ents (Peter and Mary Ann Pe­nashue) as well as her aunts, un­cles and other fam­ily and friends for their sup­port – both fi­nan­cially and dur­ing the run (some peo­ple par­tic­i­pated by run­ning shorter dis­tances).

About ALS

The ALS So­ci­ety of New­found­land and Labrador de­scribes amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­ro­sis (also known as ALS, Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease, or mo­tor neu­ron dis­ease) as a dis­ease that grad­u­ally par­a­lyzes peo­ple be­cause the brain is no longer able to com­mu­ni­cate with the mus­cles of the body that we are typ­i­cally able to move at will. Over time, as the mus­cles of the body break down. Some­one liv­ing with ALS will lose the abil­ity to walk, talk, eat, swal­low, and even­tu­ally breathe.

Ap­prox­i­mately 80 per cent of peo­ple with ALS die within two to five years of be­ing di­ag­nosed, the web­site notes.

Pe­nashue said her grand­fa­ther lived with ALS for about a year. How­ever, was only di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease about a week be­fore he passed away.

“One of my rea­sons for do­ing my run is that peo­ple are not aware about what this dis­ease is,” she said.

While speak­ing with Pe­nashue she spoke of how her grand­fa­ther died peace­fully in a tent be­hind the hospi­tal in Happy Val­leyGoose Bay. It’s how he would have wanted it, she said.

“My fam­ily set up the tent and when he was ready to go, we brought him out­doors to the tent. The ma­chine was unplugged... he left where he was born (in a tent),” she said.

Forty per cent of the funds raised dur­ing the run are di­rected to ALS Canada’s Na­tional Re­search Fund and 60 per cent stays in the prov­ince en­abling the ALS So­ci­ety of New­found­land and Labrador to help in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies af­fected by the dis­ease.

“Many lead­ing ALS re­searchers be­lieve that ef­fec­tive treat­ment op­tions are now a mat­ter of when, not if, and that re­search dis­cov­ery is lim­ited only by the amount of fund­ing avail­able to pur­sue it,” she said in a so­cial me­dia post prior to her run.

For more in­for­ma­tion on ALS visit­, call 709-6349499 or toll free at 1-888-3649499.


Thea Pe­nashue hug­ging her grand­mother Eliz­a­beth at the end of the run.


The Pe­nashue fam­ily with Thea for her run on Oct. 13


Thea Pe­nashue say­ing good­bye to her grand­fa­ther Fran­cis, who passed away in 2013 from ALS.

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