Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine to step down following ALS diagnosis

Raine to step down as mayor

Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine says he will be stepping down from his role following an ALS diagnosis.

In a statement, Raine said he was diagnosed with a less common form of the disease called Bulbar ALS. He said the illness attacks the face, throat and neck areas before the limbs, and the rate of progression varies between individuals.

“I will be meeting with some specialists over the next few weeks, and I am hopeful that they will outline what to expect next in the coming months,” Raine’s statement read.

“Obviously, the long-term outlook is not good. Over the next few months, I will work with council and municipal staff to make sure that there will be a smooth transition as I will have to step down as mayor.”

Raine said he received the diagnosis about a month ago, but delayed informing the community and friends due to celebrations of life for his brother in law and former ski team manager, Ed Champagne, as well as his wife’s recent birthday.

He said his symptoms currently include slight restrictions when swallowing, a weak voice and deteriorating speech, but said he isn’t suffering.

“I can accept my fate as I truly have lived a wonderful life and at 82, one is close to reaching the end,” Raine said.

“Enjoyed a wonderful winter skiing this year, 130+ days, and no signs of weakness while skiing. Hope to enjoy some tennis this summer.”

He said he is having difficulty with controlling his emotions in face-to-face discussions, which he said is called emotional lability and is caused by ALS.

Raine said he wishes to be "out and about," but has one request for the community.

“Please no sad facial expressions or sympathy wishes, it is those gestures that will triggers my emotions,” Raine said.

“Let’s just have some normal day-to-day discussions, pleased to hear your community thoughts and even your complaints — but no expressions of sympathy.”

Raine is the only person to ever serve as mayor of Sun Peaks.

"Happy to receive your emails. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news," his statement concludes.

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