50 Years of Commitment


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For the last half century, Alan Bartley has been working tirelessly to fight muscular dystrophy.  When he first joined the Winnipeg Fire Department, he was introduced to some individuals affected by neuromuscular disorders – as Fire Fighters are the largest supporters of Muscular Dystrophy Canada – and he hasn’t wavered in his commitment to find a cure since.

Over the years, he has advocated and rallied behind hundreds of families. From legislative protests, to getting a group of Fire Fighters together to build a ramp at an individual’s home.  Alan is a face of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, along with families, staff, and Fire Fighters across Canada – not just in Manitoba.

Alan treats the fight against muscular dystrophy in much the same way he fought fires when he was on the job.  No one left behind.  We stay until the fire is out – or in this case, until a cure is found.  And his fire is definitely not out, yet!

For over a decade, Alan has co-chaired the Manitoba Chapter.  His many activities with the Chapter include donning the big red suit at their annual Christmas Party, advocating for individuals, supporting newly diagnosed families, and running fundraising events.  I think most families in Manitoba would be surprised to hear that Alan has no family history of the disease; just a strong personal connection and the motivation to go with it.

This past March, Alan spent a week sleeping in a drafty tent on the roof of a fire hall in Winnipeg.  He got a manicure and a pedicure, was up at 5 a.m. to talk to the media, and did some Zumba dancing.  All in a day’s work.  With the Rooftop Campout committee he helped us raise $50,000 in only four days!

If we add that to the over $600,000 that has been raised in Winnipeg over the last 50 years, we can see how much Alan’s influence and hard work has achieved.

Alan was recently honoured with the Courage to Inspire Award at the Prairies Fire Fighter/Chapter Conference in Edmonton in November.  The Award, given to individuals who have had an enduring relationship with Muscular Dystrophy Canada and exhibited exceptional contributions of either financial resources or time.  Alan Bartley’s 50 years of active volunteer work demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the cause and he was very moved when the room erupted into applause and a standing ovation to mark these five decades of hard work.

Alan will also be recognized for his volunteering legacy at the upcoming Winnipeg Fire Fighter Rooftop Campout.  On Wednesday, March 18th an afternoon shindig is planned in his honour at the Osborne Village Fire Hall (150 Osborne Street) both on the roof and a little closer to the ground.  All are welcome to attend!

On behalf of the families and individuals affected by neuromuscular disorders in our province (to whom you are a great hero), and from the hundreds of Fire Fighters you have mentored and inspired along the way – thank you for dedicating five decades to this cause.  We’ve appreciated every minute.

For details on the event, please click here (you can also donate online) or on Facebook click here.


Kristen Pachet is the Revenue Development Manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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