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Colorado group empowers ALS patients with special ski session: "The feeling brings me peace"

Colorado group ALS United Rocky Mountain empowers ALS patients with special ski session
Colorado group ALS United Rocky Mountain empowers ALS patients with special ski session 03:42

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that poses significant challenges to those affected. ALS United Rocky Mountain is fighting for a cure, helping Coloradans with ALS live their lives to the fullest with critical services.

Kathryn Walton   CBS

For a group of patients, that recently meant tackling a special ski session on the slopes of Breckenridge, surrounded by proud family and friends.

"These folks are our heroes. It's a time to galvanize the community but spread advocacy and awareness as well," said David Craig, Director of Development and Comms for ALS United Rocky Mountain. "Our community is coming together and they're going to do skiing through Breckenridge Outdoor Education."

Skiing has always been in Kathryn Walton's blood. And CBS News Colorado's Mekialaya White was able to discuss that passion with her first-hand.

"My dad was a former ski racer, so I started skiing at two, and we skied as a family," Walton said.

However, her ability to ski was almost taken away from her.

"It was in December of 2023, after about three years of doctor's appointments and decline. It started with just dropping things, tripping, and falling, and then got the diagnosis that I had ALS. There's something about knowing what's happening even though it may be scary. I think just to sit in a place of acceptance," she said.

Walton didn't just accept her ALS diagnosis, she ardently battled it. It didn't stop her from being on skis. She started off standing, then eventually found sit-skis.

"Toward the end, I could ski better than I could walk. To be able to sit-ski has been a dream, to be able to get back on the mountain. The entire time I did, I was in tears. The feeling of being on the mountain brings me peace," she said.

It's a peace bigger than her circumstances.

"I'm really lucky because I'm upper motor neuron-dominant and slower progressing than folks that I know now. I'm living in this moment of today: I have a beautiful family, I have two kiddos and two bonus kids, so four kids altogether, and a supportive husband that we've made this journey together. It's not like they're saying, 'My mom is sick.' They're saying, 'She can do anything that we love,'" Walton continued with a smile.

"Her courage is amazing. Her energy and spark is just so inspiring," Craig said.

You can help in the fight to find a cure for ALS. Learn more at

ALS United Rocky Mountain also invites you to be part of its annual Sunset Gala, taking place at the Denver Country Club on June 1, 2024.

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