Archive: February, 2014

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Learn to Make Yourself Happy

 Happiness. You can’t fight the feeling when you feel it, and you can’t hide it when  you crave what it used to be. I thought certain aspects of life might tear me down –  especially with what others might think – but I have never allowed myself to be  defined by what other people had to say about who I was. It was through lessons,  and challenging myself that got me to where I am now. I learned to put myself first.  Yes, sometimes there are individuals who see my flaws, and perceive them as  something they don’t want to deal with –it’s just easier that way. Unfortunately, I  cannot walk away from myself, and I’m not sure I ever would. I am able to accept my  weaknesses, and nobody can use that against me. I know who I am, and who I am  not. Yes, we all want to be accepted, and loved. But it has to start with yourself.

I want you to be happy. I want you to not rush getting a mortgage, getting married,  or growing up. When I was younger, all I wanted was to grow up. I wanted to wear  make-up, and drive a car and feel the wind blowing in my hair. Now, I’d trade  everything to start over, and appreciate those days spent making snow forts, and  eating popsicles. You can’t go back, but you can step back. When I stepped back, I  had a chance to see what I could not see before. I saw what was worth fighting for, I felt my life get brighter, and at the same time I felt my heart become emptier. I found kindness where I did not even know it existed. So have patience in today, in tomorrow. Learn to love yourself, even within in the things you cannot change.

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Mary Ann Wickham: Foundation of Services

Mary Ann Wickham-1

Mary Ann Wickham was one of the first volunteers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, and her unique contributions to the organization have shaped the Services departments. Her unique approach gave the newly formed MDAC a stronger purpose, and presence. Research was the base of the organization, but providing information, equipment, and care for those affected by neuromuscular disorders rounded out the MDAC. We honour an exceptional volunteer every year in her name with the Mary Ann Wickham Award for Volunteer of the Year.

Below is an excerpt from Connections (MDAC newsletter,) issue from September 1989:

The Lady With The Lift

Thirty-five years ago Mary Ann Wickham got off a bus on the corner of Bay and Wellington Streets in Toronto, looked across the street, and happened to see a sign in a store window – “The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada.”

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Jerry Lewis: A Champion of Awareness

Jerry speaking

The Jerry Lewis Telethon was a staple over Labour Day weekend for many years, and raising billions of dollars, and awareness for neuromuscular disorders from all across North America. For many of these  years,  local call centres were set up across Canada, and provided local content for viewers in Canada. It was a huge undertaking for everyone involved, but it was always a highlight of the year. In 2010, Lewis hosted his last Telethon, though the show still continues as the ‘MDA Show of Strength.’

Later this month, on February 28th, Jerry Lewis will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Hollywood’s union publicists.Theaward celebrates Lewis’s large body of work in the entertainment industry, as well as his storied work with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Jerry’s Kids.

Below is a press release that was published on August 30, 1974, at the peak of the Telethon popularity, announcing that there will be more Canadian pledge centres than previous years:

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A Family Connection

md2[1]For one Muscular Dystrophy Canada family, the connection to the organization goes back almost 60 years. Ken Killen was a career Fire Fighter with the Kingston Fire Department, and began volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada in the late 1950s, a connection that carries on today through his daughter Debra Chiabai, and grandchildren Alex and Kate.

“My father was a career Fire Fighter in Kingston. He often had part time jobs in his off hours (bus driver, photographer, taxi driver) since in the early years it was not a particularly well paid job. Even though he was very busy with his full and part time work, he always made time to volunteer. The Fire Fighter charity of choice, then as now, was the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada,” remembers Debra. “I know he had a leadership role which I think would now be called Fire Fighter Advisor, but I’m not sure if that was just for his department or if it was more regional. He was responsible for a number of years for running the Kingston Telethon Centre and he also made frequent trips to the televised location in Watertown, New York to speak on behalf of Fire Fighters, co-host and to receive and deliver cheques. He would also take co-lead/coordinate the local canister drive and other events like McHappy Day. He also dressed up as a clown for fundraising events and to participate in the annual Kingston Santa Claus parade.”

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Team Junior is gearing up for another exciting year at Walk for Muscular Dystrophy!

 My name is Melissa Basil and this will be my 5th time participating in the  annual Waterloo Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy! My family and I  are very excited to be participating once again this year because this  Walk is a great way to raise awareness of neuromuscular disorders such  as MD. It is also a great way to meet other families who may be  experiencing the same triumphs and challenges as we do; families who  understand our story.  Originally, I decided to participate in this annual  Walk because I thought it would be a great way to support my younger  brother, Junior, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age  of 5. Now, Junior is 19 years old and I feel it is important to continue to  show him my support, hence I come out every year. Not only have I      been participating in this Walk, but my family as well as my extended family and friends have continued to participate and show support for this cause. Each year our team (team Junior) has gotten bigger and bigger! We feel that it is important to participate and fundraise because not only are we raising awareness and making connections with others in our community, but we are also raising funds that will aid families who need equipment as well as research for a cure which is something we have longed for, for many years.

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