BANGOR, Maine — The fifth annual Bangor Walk to Defeat ALS will kick off Saturday, Aug. 25, at Hayford Park on 13th Street. Walk organizers hope to reach a goal of 400 walkers collecting a total of $55,000 in an effort to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bangor’s first walk in 2008 began with 12 teams, 141 participants, and raised more than $27,000. In 2011, the event grew to 20 teams, 350 participants, and raised almost $50,000.

“Raising awareness about the need for continued clinical and basic research for ALS is paramount,” said Dr. Greg Cox, associate professor at The Jackson Laboratory. “My laboratory is taking advantage of the power of genetics to identify factors that can alter the onset or progression of ALS. We hope to use knowledge gained from this research to define new targets for therapy that might be able to extend survival of the motor neurons and slow or stop disease progression.”

Registration on the day of the walk will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the walk will start at 10 a.m. Cox and Dr. Cathy Lutz, also of The Jackson Laboratory, will be guest speakers at the Saturday fundraising event.

A raffle also is being conducted to benefit the walk. Prizes are an iPad2, a Kindle Fire, a quilt, a tote bag filled with knitting supplies and a cookbook. Tickets are $2 each or six for $10. The drawing will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the conclusion of the walk. Winners do not need to be present.

To find out how to get involved, register a team or sign up to walk as an individual, visit For information, contact Janice Von Brook, Bangor’s walk chairwman, at 862-3182 or