In 1954, a small group of parents with boys affected by muscular dystrophy came together to form the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada (later renamed Muscular Dystrophy Canada), to further research into the causes of neuromuscular disorders. Dr. David Green, co-founder of Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, had to face the challenge of introducing the Association into a market many felt was already overrun with charities. However, a few years later, in 1958, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada would be proudly recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 health organizations with a membership between 10,000-15,000 and new chapters opening up across the country every year.
Arthur Minden was co-founder with his friend, Dr. Green. He was also the first National President, holding that position for ten years, and was Chairman of the Board until his passing in 1966. During his time as president, Minden worked to involve the Fire Fighters in raising funds for muscular dystrophy. Fire Fighters came into the picture early on, initiating fundraising activities in 1954 that raised $200,000 to fund the first six research projects. Fire departments have continued to be our strongest source of fundraising support.
Over the years as our research efforts multiplied, we expanded our services to include education, referrals, equipment, advocacy, and ongoing peer support for those afflicted by neuromuscular disorders.
In 2000, Muscular Dystrophy Canada partnered with the ALS Society of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in the Neuromuscular Research Partnership (NRP). This cooperative research-funding model has allowed us to more effectively use our research dollars to support a broader range of projects studying the causes, cures and treatments of muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders.
Today we have 38 chapters and two affiliates in communities across Canada, with thousands of volunteers helping us raise funds so we can provide services to tens of thousands of Canadians affected by neuromuscular disorders. We thank all of our committed partners and volunteers who have helped us along the way.
1963: Don Messer, entertainer – Honorary President
1969: Nancy Greene, Olympic ski champion – Honorary Campaign Chairman
1971: Bobby Orr, hockey player – Honorary Campaign Chairman
1988: Gordon Pinsent, actor – Honorary Campaign Chairman
1989: Kurt Browning, world champion figure skater – Honorary Campaign Chairman