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My Journey to Success

image (4)With the 2018 Winter Olympic at a close and the Paralympic games about to begin, it is a time of reflection and amazing memories for me. It was eighteen years ago that I competed in my first Paralympic games, and somehow it seems like just yesterday. My journey to the top was not without sacrifices though. I missed out on many “normal” adolescent activities, from missing school, to skipping prom. But the drive I had to compete was greater than any prom.

Living with a Neuromuscular disorder meant that I was faced with many things out of my control. There were painful therapy sessions, multiple doctors’ appointments, and many more un-pleasantries that come included in the backpack of MD. But every time I dove into the water it was as if I was taking off that heavy backpack and regaining control of my life. I owned the water and I was ready for the whole world to see that. In 2000 I competed in Sydney Australia Paralympics. I can still close my eyes and feel the excitement of walking onto the track during opening ceremonies and hearing “CANADA” called out. I had made it. The countless hours in the pool, the dedication to push a little harder every day, and yes, even those sacrifices I had made, all came down to this. 

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I will never forget walking around the track hearing the people cheering and knowing that the next ten days were going to change my life forever, and I was just fifteen years old. Like any 15 year old, I was pretty pumped about the cool new threads I got to wear, and the attractive athletes surrounding me. However, when it came time for business, I had a hunger to win, and a desire to prove that MD was not going to hold me back. I broke three world records and won three gold medals. I can still recall the way I felt diving into the pool for every race, and power I felt in my fingertips as I touched the wall to stop the clock. Later, standing on the podium, hearing the national anthem, and looking into the crowd and seeing my family was exactly the reassurance I needed to know that the sacrifices were all worth it. The maple leaf became so much more to me than a symbol of our country’s flag; it became MY symbol of strength and perseverance.

That hunger and drive I had to compete was not entirely satisfied after the 2000 games, and so I went on to compete at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens Greece. These were the toughest races of my life as they all were one hundredth of a second apart from my competitors. My first race in Athens I placed forth. I was heartbroken that I was not going to be standing on the podium. That heartbreak pushed me to dig deep and reset my focus. I went on to win a silver and two bronze medals there, and to this day those medals mean just as much to me as my golds from the 2000 games.

When you dare to dream and set small goals in attempt to achieve that dream, that bigger goal, you allow yourself to push beyond possibilities you every thought possible. While attending the closing ceremonies and standing amongst competitors, now turned best of friends, the realization of dreams turned reality set in for all of us. We understood that together we were changed as athletes and as individuals. We had set a goal and achieved that goal.

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Whether I am reflecting on my life as an elite swimmer, or my life as an individual with a neuromuscular disorder, I cannot deny the parallels that exist between the two. In order to become a world record holder and gold medalist, I had to ensure I had the right team of people behind me all the way. I also had to advocate for my needs and ensure I had the proper access to the equipment that would help to enhance my training, and therefore lead to the desired out comes.  The same can be said for dealing with a neuromuscular disorder.

My Olympic experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I am so grateful that I am able to now be a part of the Muscular Dystrophy Canada team. A team that is focused on giving everyone living with a neuromuscular disorder the ability to dream and reach their full potential. I’d like you to watch these 2018 Olympics and Paralympic games, and as you do, take a moment to reflect on your dreams. Remember it is never too late to start dreaming. Enjoy the power of the flame.

– Danielle Campo-McLeod

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Reaching Out To The Health and Social Services (Québec) Minister, Gaétan Barrette

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Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC), on behalf of the Canadian neuromuscular community, has reached out to the Minister Gaétan Barrette, Health and Social Services (Québec).

We have reached out to Minister Barette to encourage him to reconsider the position that l’Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESS) has taken by not recommending Spinraza for reimbursement for the treatment for all types of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

We will update our community when we hear back from the Minister.

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Your Gift Today Will Push Us…




  Welcome to 2018! Just like me, you probably wrote a list of resolutions to kick off the New Year. Can I ask you to add curing neuromuscular disorders? It’s on mine, and with the leaps and bounds we’re making in research, I’m feeling hopeful.

  We have big goals for 2018. From finding new treatments to continuing our relentless search for a cure, we have our work cut out for us. But with support from generous donors, like you, we have the resources and passion to make it happen.

  The truth is, our community is a resilient and tough bunch, overcoming the challenges we face together every day. However, watching a loved one struggle in pain is a terrible burden for anyone. For those caring for people with a neuromuscular disorder, it’s a reality they have to face each and every day.

  We know that there is a steep learning curve when building a new life with a complex disorder. And to make things even more complicated, no one experiences a neuromuscular disease the same way. Because of this, we work with our clients to develop a custom and holistic approach to their individual needs, every time.

  In 2018, we will be training more coaches to help our clients navigate through the challenges they’ll face. Our coaches are trained to listen and figure out where clients are in their own personal journey, and then provide them with the tools and resources to get them to where they want to be. Your generous support allows us to work one-on-one with clients, person to person.

As the world steps away from human connection, we’re doubling down on what we’ve always done, and taking a bold step toward it.

  As I travel around the country, meeting clients and hearing their stories, I always come home with new insight into the work we are doing together. Recently a mother told me that, “When my son Ryan was 5 years old he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This experience is so isolating. No one can understand it unless they’re in it. Even family and friends don’t always understand. Planning a simple outing becomes incredibly complicated. But, fortunately, we have Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Through MDC, we have a healthcare coach. She’s the one I turn to when I need help to get through the tough times. She helped me advocate when the school administrators decided that Ryan needed to stay in his wheelchair all day. And she helped again when they decided he couldn’t go canoeing on his graduation trip.” These are the kinds of stories that convince me we’re on the right path.

  Your continued generosity and dedication to the Muscular Dystrophy Canada community means that clients can count on us for supportive programs and services, while we continue to fund research and champion advocacy efforts. Because of you, we can be that helping hand when families need it most.

  Sharing a story or a smile with a friend is often a great comfort. We are all looking for human connections. But when you live with a neuromuscular disorder, you can often feel isolated, like there isn’t a place in the world for you. This can be a terrifying feeling. To fight the fear, we’ve developed Family and Caregiver Retreats where our clients can connect with others who understand what they’re going through. We know there is strength in numbers, especially when we listen and understand each other. Strengthening these bonds is just one of our priorities for 2018.

  At our last Caregiver Retreat, the wife of an individual with a neuromuscular disorder told me that, “From the moment I sat down for lunch on Saturday and looked into the eyes of the other participants who were virtual strangers, there was an instant connection. I felt they understood me without saying a word.” This is what your donations do.

  We’re confident that the work we’re doing is going to allow us to make an even bigger impact in 2018 because we know you’re with us. We couldn’t do it alone.

  Now is the time to renew your support and join us for the next leg of the journey. Your gift of $35, $50, or $100 to Muscular Dystrophy Canada will mean that more clients will feel less isolated, less afraid, and more hopeful for what tomorrow may hold.

  If, like us, you’re ready to cure neuromuscular disorders once and for all, become a monthly donor and join our Circle of Strength. When we have a steady source of funds, we can spend less time fundraising and more time working directly with clients. It’s also a way for you to spread your generous contribution out over the year.

  Our clients across Canada, from coast-to-coast-to-coast, rely on incredible donors, just like you. We know that you are as committed and ready for a fight as we are. Together, we’re the unstoppable force that will defeat the fear and isolation. We’re the force that will find the cure.

From our MDC family to yours, we wish you a wonderful and prosperous 2018.

Barbara Stead-Coyle e-sig

Barbara Stead-Coyle,

Chief Executive Officer

P.S. This year we continue to push beyond possible to impact more Canadians affected by a neuromuscular disorder. Your gift today will push us further than we’ve ever been.

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High Rise Challenge Sneak Peak

Invitation to the 2018 Montreal High-Rise Challenge


Do you feel like you’re living a dream?
What do you mean?

Eh, we’re close to the hockey, next to the Bell Center.

Yeah, but it’s not the Bell Center you have to look at, Benoit, it’s the tower over there; the Deloitte Tower.

Yeah, you’re in a reserved zone.

Oh, we’re not staying long; we’re moving the High-Rise Challenge.

It’s not the time to get another ticket.

Attention, Attention, the High-Rise Challenge!

I hope we can practice it a little bit.

Sunday, May 20th, High Rise Challenge for Muscular Dystrophy is back.

Wait, it seems to me that people looks at us strangely.

Don’t forget to give the Website too!

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2017 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Highlights


Highlights From Your 2017 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy


Hello Walkers!

It is my pleasure to get to share with you the results from this year’s Walk for Muscular Dystrophy! In the video you’re about to watch, we’ve highlighted incredible spirit and participation from coast to coast.

We are proud to say that together, we hit our milestone of 1.3 million dollars raised! This money goes directly to support families dealing with the challenges of living with a neuromuscular disorder. It supports cutting-edge research that is making leaps towards finding a cure, compassionate programs and services and funds equipment applications to empower clients. These supports make a huge difference in the lives of our families.

The Walk is an important fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, but it is also an opportunity for our supporters and community members alike to come together and strengthen the bond we all share. It is a chance for families, individuals, teams, volunteers and Fire Fighters to come together in a shared experience, walking, wheeling, and rolling to raise funds for a cause that we all hold close to our hearts.

The incredible work and enthusiasm you show each and every year ignites our passion and gives us the motivation to keep growing, while bringing new people into our community. We are thrilled with the 2017 Walk results, and we know that with you on our team, we can do even more next year!

Please know your support means the world to our community and we look forward to welcoming you to a Walk in 2018!

Now, for the highlights!

Starting in Newfoundland and Labrador, a big highlight was the participation of Team Roberts and others, who grew the Corner Brook walk by 100%.

On Prince Edward Island, we had a sea of blue as RBC turned up in big numbers to show their support!

In New Brunswick, Serge Lanteigne led the charge and became the top fundraiser in Atlantic Canada with a personal total of $19,970! Incredible work Serge!

And finally, rounding out the Atlantic provinces, the Halifax chapter held a gaming night that raised more than $4,000 dollars pushing the Halifax Walk total over $65,000 making it the top walk in the region!

In Quebec, we had a great turnout with almost 400 participants across the province. The Keindel Family and Friends were the top team raising $11,374!

Over to Ontario where the Peel Walk for MD had not only the largest fundraising total for an Ontario Walk this year, but was the largest Ontario Walk total ever! Congratulations to everyone who was involved in raising more than $70,000! Amazing!

In Manitoba, our Walks continued to grow with more than 200 people coming out to the Winnipeg Walk, the most we have ever had in that region!

It was a record year in Saskatchewan as well, bringing in a total of $87,721 dollars, the highest total to date!

In Alberta, Erin’s Squad led the charge again with an incredible $56,255 dollars raised, making them the highest fundraising team in Canada for the second year in a row! What an incredible accomplishment.

And last but not least, in British Columbia, four of the teams were in the top 10 fundraising teams across Canada! Special shout out to Thee Golden Spirits, MMR and Friends, Team Party Hardy, and Devon’s Dino Team!

We are so proud of the amazing accomplishments that all of our participants achieved in 2017 and the impact they have had on our community. Your passion and enthusiasm for Muscular Dystrophy Canada means that more Canadian lives are impacted each and every year. For that, we send you our heartfelt thanks and gratitude, and can’t wait to see what you will achieve in 2018! Keep on Walking Canada!

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