As a Fire Fighter, I have seen people face life changing moments daily. As a father, you are never prepared when they happen in your home, to your children. You remember that look of pain, fear, shock and disbelief. I never thought it would happen to us.
Today, I am sharing with you my story about our son, Malik. Last March, Natasha & I heard the hardest news parents can ever receive. Malik was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited neuromuscular disorder which usually affects boys. It makes muscle cells weak, and they gradually break down over time. And as of today, there is still no cure.
It’s not easy to start to see Malik slow down. Just as other kids his age are speeding up, we’re having to prepare for life at a different pace. I cannot describe the terror we felt when we found out Malik had Duchenne. Since Duchenne is hereditary, we realized our youngest son, Gabriel, could also be affected. We could barely sleep, thinking about the potential outcome. Thankfully, those results came back negative, Gabriel was in the clear.
Malik is no different than any 5-year-old. He loves to run and play, whether around our family cottage, swimming in the lake, or playing in the park. Malik is always discovering. He loves to pretend to cut the lawn on his electric John Deere mower or to dream of adventures with his absolute favorite thing, Thomas the Train!
I can’t put into words how hard it is to know that Malik will have to grow up faster than other kids. But, because of your generosity, families like ours are able to receive the support we need, leaving Malik to focus on just being a kid for now. Thank you for all that you do.
Thankfully, just like you, Natasha and I discovered Muscular Dystrophy Canada! After Malik’s teacher and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario referred us, we reached out and their support and reassurance have made all the difference to our family. Muscular Dystrophy Canada has shown us that there is a path forward, and we know that they’ll be with us every step of the way.
With the weather improving, Malik is excited to shed his bulky snowsuit and boots to get outside to play! The warm weather, breezy shorts, and sneakers make it easier for Malik to move a little faster, helping him forget the invisible force trying to slow him down. Your gift today means that the support and services offered by Muscular Dystrophy Canada are there for Malik, and our family, every time we need them. Thank you.
Since becoming a Fire Fighter, I was aware of the special place that Muscular Dystrophy Canada held in the hearts of departments across this country, but it wasn’t until after Malik’s diagnosis that the enormous impact that Fire Fighters make became clear. What had begun as a department tradition now turned into a family one, with a yearly goal to raise more money than ever before.
I was a bit nervous to share Malik’s news with the department, but when I did, the place went off like a fire cracker! The department rallied around our family, the whole department pledged to renew their commitments and help out as much as they could. It amazed me to see this group of people become such a tight knit family. Our little family of four continues to grow.
Since the diagnosis, we have been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. The incredible support and generosity of our friends and families has been overwhelming. It hit me the hardest as my department suited up in full gear to walk with our family in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, in the pouring rain and all.
As we become more involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, one thing is clear, it is people like YOU who provides the ongoing support that will help Malik keep going, and give us the strength to never stop searching for a cure.
I hope we can count on you once again. Along with the support of our family and friends, your generous support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada keeps us motivated. Knowing that there is a whole community of people pulling for us, makes each day a little easier.
On behalf of every family searching for hope, thank you. Thank you for supporting all of the families and superheroes like our Malik, who will face new challenges every day of his life. Your support means we won’t have to face them alone.
Patrick Bissonnette, Father and volunteer Fire Fighter
P.S. – Over 3,500 boys are born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy every year. Your donation helps to empower them to live an independent life and fund new research in the relentless search for a cure.