By John Fitts
As Peter Fortier participated in the first leg of the Tri-State Trek for ALS research last month, the bicycle route’s hilly terrain proved even more challenging than he’d anticipated.
But it proved to be an apt metaphor for his brother-in-law Ernie Fournier, who was diagnosed with the disease in the fall of 2014.
“Every day he has to face these insurmountable challenges and it keeps getting harder,” Fortier said. “That’s what his life is like. There is no downhill. I ended up stopping but these guys can’t.”
Fortier was one of 15 members of “Team Ernie” that participated in the 14th annual Tri-State Trek a three-day, 270-mile cycling event from Boston to Greenwich, CT for ALS research. Fortier rode some 65 miles, a portion of the journey’s first leg from Boston to the University of Connecticut.
Like many other Canton residents, Fortier, his wife Irene Fitzpatrick Fortier and other family members participated in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge during the summer of 2014.
It wasn’t long before they learned that the ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative condition that results in muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure, had affected Irene’s oldest brother. … Continue Reading