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Archive: June, 2012

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Amazing volunteers from Lowe’s Waterloo donate smiles and positive attitude

On Saturday, June 16th I had the pleasure of working at the Waterloo Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and meeting a special group of people there.

The team from Lowe’s Canada in West Waterloo volunteered to help with the Walk, and they were some of the most enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers I’ve seen!  The group of about 15 employees and some of their kids arrived at 8 a.m. for set up wearing Muscular Dystrophy Canada shirts they made themselves and they stayed through the whole day, leaving only minutes before the Walk organizer.

This Lowe’s team became involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada through the Buck 4 Luck  campaign.  They raised $23,000 over the last two years making them the top Lowe’s fundraisers both years.  This group is very dedicated to the Lowe’s campaign.  Jane, one of the Lowe’s volunteer, explained that the store employees wear light up shamrocks and post displays to show their progress across the store wall, which creates excitement for the employees and their customers.

The team that arrived at the Waterloo Walk brought a BBQ to cook hot dogs for participants, helped with participant registration, put up signs along the Walk route (some of them ended up walking the route at least four times!), brought a face painting station, set up and took down tents, and brought an overall great attitude to the day!

This group was genuinely happy to be together and helping their community.  They volunteer and participate in multiple charity events as a team. Store manager Summet expressed that the store is planning a car wash where proceeds would go to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.  That event is June 29th in the Lowe’s parking lot (11am-4pm, 345 The Boardwalk).  The ideas for keeping the Waterloo team as the top Buck 4 Luck fundraiser are already flowing as well!

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers from Lowe’s West Waterloo! Your support at the Walk was invaluable and your many efforts throughout the year for Muscular Dystrophy Canada are so appreciated.

Canadian Strongman visits the Quebec Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

Quebec Walk for Muscular Dystrophy had a very special guest at their Walk event on June 10thHugo Girard came to support the event and took time to pose for pictures with the many participants on a red carpet-type entrance.  Quebec Walk for MD had 340 participants and volunteers and they raised over $30,000!

 

Hugo has family members who are affected by a neuromuscular disorder, and he chose to use his celebrity to raise the profile of Quebec Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and encourage others to “make muscles move”.   He also wanted to support his new friend, Félix Vigot, the Quebec Walk for MD Ambassador. Hugo even visited Félix and his classmates after the class raised $3,650 at a Move-a-thon event for the Walk.

 

Hugo was named Canada’s Strongest Man six times between 1999 and 2004, he was North America’s Strongest Man in 2001 and 2002 and he was the 2002 Strongman (IFSA) Super Series .  Hugo is well known in Quebec due to his Strongman competitions and appearing in comical commercials.

Check out more pictures of Hugo and the Quebec Walk for MD from 107.5 Rouge fm, who was a Quebec Walk for MD media sponsor.

Walk for MD participant gets creative in her fundraising

Dr. Katie Manders is a Muscular Dystrophy Canada board member and volunteer.  She recently participated in the Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy on June 9th, where she was the top fundraiser and received her award for Atlantic Region Client of the Year! Katie has had a rough year medically, and she shared her tale in poetic style on her fundraising page.  The following is the continuation of her story in the form of a thank you letter to her many generous sponsors.

The title is “A Fairy Tale Ending-thank you!”

     As the Heroine lay dazed and bewildered, she reflected upon yesterday’s events and the past two months. The first letter to her Subjects was sent with enthusiasm and hope and a fundraising goal of $4,500. She had hoped to give back to an organization that has helped her so much and increases the awareness of neuromuscular disorders. Temporarily stripped of voice (yet another infection and time in Emerg), she took to her computer and Facebook to get her message to as many subjects as she could. 77 devoted subjects responded to her pleas (and yes, she does realize that there were many plea attempts!). It took some until the night before the walk to get their butts in gear but in the end, the Heroine went into a state of shock (happy shock) at what number popped up on her fund raising site. $7,565!!! This was far beyond her wildest dreams. (Picture Heroine jumping for joy, with a shrill in her voice that replaced the memories of her hospital stays over the course of the year).

Now, Mother Nature tried but failed to dampen the spirits of all the Subjects. What’s a few down pours and thunder? There were cheers, merriment and celebration throughout the land (well, our little land of the Marriott hotel and boardwalk). Men in uniform were even there! This time not to chariot the Heroine away, but to feed her and man the BBQ.

The Heroine was surrounded by friends and supporters and she smiled on the inside and out.

She even received two awards on this fine day. As top individual fundraiser she blew her competition out of the water (sorry Mr. Brookbank, it was worth every penny!). She also received the very special honour of Atlantic Canada’s Client of the Year. She couldn’t have done this without her Subjects amazing generosity and encouraging spirits!

And so, exhausted by the excitement and activity, the Heroine took to her bed for about 30 hours! Tomorrow she will wake anew to her daytime job and care for children at the hospital, lifted by their resilience and smiles. She looks forward now and sees her future with more clarity and drive.

Kate is truly blessed to have you all in her life,

Thank you,

Katie (aka, the Heroine)

You can register to participate or donate to your local Walk for Muscular Dystrophy.  If your Walk event is more than a month away, don’t forget about the Early Bird Contest!

Atlantic family shares their thanks for equipment services

The Lowe family in New Brunswick applied to receive help with funding from Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s equipment program.  Joey Lowe is affected by a neuromuscular disorder and the family needed help to pay for a specialized mattress, which would help Joey and increase his comfort and health.  The Lowe family was really touched by the impact that the Services department made in their lives.

The following letter is excerpted from a letter written to the New Brunswick Services office by the Lowe family:

Feb 11, 2012

To all members of the Muscular Dystrophy Services office and to Sheila—

Thank you for the recent help we received for purchasing a special mattress for our son.  We certainly never expected the help to the extent we got and it was so needful at this time.

I had to recently leave the workforce due to health reasons and had no resources for this extra medical expense.

Joey has been using this special mattress now for over a month and the skin problems he was having are starting to clear up.  The Occupational Therapist told us that pressure sores can be quite serious but somehow this ROHO mattress seems to be clearing all the problem areas up.

Thank you, Sheila, for the telephone call to let us know we were going to get funding help.  Thanks also for contacting Lawtons [Home Healthcare store] and getting things settled there. 

Thank you seems to be such inadequate words to let you know how grateful we are but that’s all I know to say.

Please let everyone who works in your office know how grateful we are to everyone connected to this funding program.

The Lowe Family

It’s gratifying to know that Muscular Dystrophy Canada can make a difference.  If you or someone you know can use our services, register or learn more by contacting your regional office.

Mom and employee feels emotional impact of Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

In June 2007, as Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Alberta Chapter Advisor, I had the privilege of attending Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s National Chapter Conference.  Meeting people who were as passionate as I about our mission was wonderful, but learning about the plan to roll out the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy as our national signature event in 2008 left me breathless and filled with hope and excitement.  Watching video of the Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and hearing about the success of these events in Eastern Canada made me antsy to get home and start planning for Alberta to be on the map with the Walk for MD!  I remember sitting around socializing on the Saturday evening with volunteers and Fire Fighters from all over Canada, and saying to my Alberta gang – “We HAVE to make this happen in Alberta next year – Edmonton for sure!” and agreement all around that we were committed.  In 2007, Lethbridge Chapter President, Jackie Simpson, went home and made a September Walk for MD happen, raising about $1500.  Alberta Walks for MD had begun!

In early 2008 a small committee comprised of Deb Cumming, Rachelle McGonigal, Karin Harrison and myself met for the first time and began plans for a June Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Edmonton.  Soon after, Christie Tobia also joined our group.  We had full support of both Edmonton and Strathcona County Fire Fighters and we were enthusiastic and ready to make our event the biggest success it could be – and successful it was, raising over $35,000 that first year!

The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is more than just a fundraising event.  For me, the Walk for MD represents hope and community.  At the time I took part in launching the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Western Canada I was first and foremost Ben’s Momma.  Ben, then just turning 11 years old, was still not fully diagnosed, and we were in the midst of many tests and visits to medical professionals to try to pinpoint closer just what was going on for him.  In April 2008, with Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s support, we traveled to Ontario to see a specialist in Mitochondrial disorders, who performed another muscle biopsy and examination.  In June, just one week before the first Edmonton Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, we received Ben’s official diagnosis of Mitochondrial Myopathy.  These two events are forever linked in my mind.  Now Big Ben’s Bandits were not only working to raise awareness about neuromuscular disorders in general because our Ben’s nemesis had a real name and as a family we were even more determined to fight it and help him to dream big and live his best life.

I have been at all but four Walk for Muscular Dystrophy events in Alberta, first as a volunteer and then beginning in 2010 as Alberta’s Fundraising and Community Development Coordinator.  I have worked closely with every Walk for Muscular Dystrophy lead and committee in Alberta – encouraging, trusting, and celebrating the growth of the Walks for MD.  At each and every event we meet new families who are as passionate as we are to help their loved one be independent, healthy and happy.  Sometimes, these families are struggling to accept a new diagnosis, and I can’t help but remember the day I took the phone call about my own son’s diagnosis just a week before our first Edmonton Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and how much comfort we found in our Chapter community and Walk for MD that year (and since) with the knowledge that we are not alone on this journey.

In Alberta we now walk for muscular dystrophy with the generous support of Canada Safeway, and of course our Fire Fighters, in eight communities right across our province.  In 2007, Alberta raised $1500 at the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and heightened awareness in one small city.  In 2011, Alberta raised nearly $160,000 and priceless awareness across our province – an incredible team effort that continues to grow!   There are so many amazing reasons to celebrate at our fifth anniversary of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, here in Alberta and right across our great country!

Author: Terri Tumack began work as Alberta’s Fundraising and Community Development Coordinator in late 2009. She has been an active volunteer with Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1998 when her son Ben was first diagnosed with a non-specific neuromuscular disorder.  Working to build the Muscular Dystrophy Canada community in Edmonton, and later across Alberta as Chapter Advisor, has been her passion since the early days of her involvement with the organization.

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