The Michel Louvain Client of the Year Award
This year’s Michel Louvain Client of the Year Award recipient is Maayan Ziv.
Maayan Ziv is a passionate, inspirational, innovative and creative young woman. A recent digital media graduate from Ryerson University, she has played a key role in addressing accessibility issues on a national level.
Maayan is the creator of AccessNow, a tool that empowers people with disabilities. AccessNow is an app that uses crowdsourcing to pin-point the accessibility status of locations on an interactive map. The user searches for specific places or browses to see what locations are near them with the accessibility features they need. Currently there are over 173 cities with almost 6,000 locations pinned. If a location isn’t already on the map, you can add it and contribute to the worldwide community.
Maayan was the Toronto Walk Ambassador in 2015 and played a key role in hosting the event. Maayan has participated in many speaking engagements and has made a significant impact in making a difference. Maayan demonstrates strong leadership, is a mover and shaker in making positive changes to enhance awareness with regards to accessibility and inclusive communities. Maayan was recently presented with the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility.
The Michel Louvain Client of the Year Award is presented to an individual with a neuromuscular disorder who has made an outstanding contribution to Muscular Dystrophy Canada in fundraising, public relations, and/or services.
Michel Louvain is a French Quebec singer who has been a volunteer with Muscular Dystrophy Canada for over 20 years. Mr. Louvain’s commitment to improving the lives of people with neuromuscular disorders will forever be remembered and celebrated by Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Fire Fighter of the Year Award
This year’s Fire Fighter of the Year Award recipient is Tony Rose.
Tony has been a leader in the fight against neuromuscular disorders for over 20 years. He has been a Newfoundland (NL) Fire Fighter Advisor for more than 15 years and a member of the National Fire Fighter Relations Committee (NFFRC) for over 10 years.
Tony’s commitment to helping families affected by neuromuscular disorders living in NL and across the country is exemplary!
Tony is very well respected in the NL Fire Fighter community. He is a team player and provides essential leadership in moving the relationship between Fire Fighters and Muscular Dystrophy Canada forward. He’s has been instrumental in increasing fire department support and dollars across Newfoundland/Labrador and for the first time, this past year exceeding the amount raised to over $100,000.
Also this past year, Tony volunteered to Chair the “Tool Box” subcommittee of the NFFRC, guiding members and staff in creating standards for our communication tools, and communicating with staff on improvements to “booth” space at Fire Fighter/Fire Chiefs Conventions.
The Fire Fighter of the Year Award is presented to a Fire Fighter who has demonstrated overall excellence throughout the past year, in areas of public awareness, services, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment.
The Mary Ann Wickham Volunteer of the Year Award
This year’s Mary Ann Wickham Volunteer of the Year Award recipient is Kara Reid.
Kara has been a member of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Board of Directors since 2011 and has been a member of our Respiratory Care Working Group and Services Advisory Committee for that entire time frame. She was also on the National Steering Committee for Empowerment in Action.
Kara is an Occupational Therapist on the Paediatric team at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, and a member of Paediatric Neuromuscular Clinic Team.
Kara’s continued commitment to our cause – as a clinician, board member, and advocate for people with neuromuscular disorders is aspiring. Over the past year, Kara has demonstrated Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s values in the all of the work that she does. Kara has also been actively engaged in the planning committees and as a volunteer for both the Muscular Dystrophy Canada Atlantic Family Retreat and Youth in Action Atlantic.
The Mary Ann Wickham Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a Muscular Dystrophy Canada volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution, during the past year, to fundraising, public relations, and/or service.
Mary Ann Wickham was one of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s first volunteers. Ms. Wickham’s contributions to the way Muscular Dystrophy Canada delivers client services will be forever remembered and celebrated.
Dr. George Karpati Award for Researcher of the Year
This year’s Dr. George Karpati Award for Researcher of the Year recipient is Dr. Ronald Cohn.
Dr. Cohn and his team at the Cohn Laboratory at The Hospital for Sick Kids focus on the biology of muscle regeneration as it relates to various inherited and acquired myopathic states with a particular interest in muscular dystrophies. More recently, he used a novel approach to understand the mechanisms of maintaining muscle mass and regeneration, by studying hibernating ground squirrels. Hibernating mammals have evolved mechanisms to survive prolonged immobility without pathologic loss/atrophy of muscle mass. The molecular mechanisms underlying this fascinating phenomenon are largely unknown. Dr. Ronald Cohn’s Lab was the first to Remove Duplicate Gene Using CRISPR.
Dr. Ronald Cohn used a genome-editing technology known as CRISPR to correct DNA errors in the cells of a patient with muscular dystrophy. His study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics and featured in the Toronto Star newspaper. Dr. Cohn is a member of the Medical Scientific Medical Advisory Committee. He is always willing to work with staff in leveraging opportunities to enhance research activities.
The Dr. George Karpati Award for Researcher of the Year is presented to an exemplary neuromuscular clinician or researcher who has made a significant contribution to neuromuscular research, the advancement of care of people with neuromuscular disorders in the past year in the areas of public awareness, services and/or fundraising.
This award is dedicated in honour of Dr. George Karpati, who was a leading expert in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with neuromuscular disorders.
Dr. Katie Manders Courage to Inspire Award
This year’s Courage to Inspire Award recipients are Dr. Lawrence Korngut, and Ron Nicol.
Dr. Lawrence Korngut is a Neurologist at the Calgary Neuromuscular Clinic, managing the neuromuscular disease clinical trial program. He is also Director, Calgary ALS Clinic, National Principal Investigator of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry. He is Clinical Assistant Professor (Neurology), at the University of Calgary. and Chair, of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Network.
Lawrence has been a member of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Board of Directors since 2012 and was chair of our Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee from 2012 to 2015.
In addition to being a dedicated neuromuscular clinician and Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, Lawrence has taken the Principal Investigatorship of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) in 2009 and built a competent team to bring this major project to fruition. The CNDR is a clinic based, active enrolling, multi-disease neuromuscular disease registry, which is unique methodology amongst international NMD databases. Not only has Lawrence been a catalyst for building stronger relationships between Canadian neuromuscular physicians and researchers but he has solidified international partnerships through the process of creating the CNDR.
Since 2014, Lawrence has also led the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Network. The goal of this network is to provide a sustainable national network bringing together all interested stakeholders across neuromuscular diseases.
During meetings of the Board of Directors, Lawrence provides a strong voice for researchers, clinicians and people affected by neuromuscular disorders. He also inspires all of these parties to be engaged with one another and to promote the importance of research. In the past year, CAN-NMD has been working on “Neuromuscular Nation”, an online portal to promote knowledge sharing and networking between these stakeholders. As a result of their work in establishing the network and developing the grant proposal Lawrence and his team have now put neuromuscular disorders at the forefront of the rare disease community. It has also established new partnerships with the university network across the country which can only continue to strengthen and enhance our credibility and profile with this increasingly important sector of the research community. Their work will continue to be instrumental in setting the future direction of the CAN-NMD network and research priorities in neuromuscular diseases.
Ron has been a Board of Directors member since 2005, and has filled many roles as a volunteer. His contributions to Muscular Dystrophy Canada have been tremendous. His involvement with the Montreal Gala spans over 12 years, and over the past 2 years, he has also generously agreed to chair the Steering Committee for the I Can! campaign. He is always on the “lookout” for new opportunities that can benefit the organization through his influence with business colleagues and contacts. Ron is a great networker and unselfishly shares his commitment to Muscular Dystrophy Canada and people with a neuromuscular disorder with his colleagues and friends.
Ron will be stepping down this year at the end of his term, but has agreed to continue to be involved in the Montreal Gala and the I Can! campaign. His positive energy will be missed on the Board but we appreciate his willingness to continue to be involved as a senior statesman.
As a tribute to Dr. Katie Manders and the immense contribution she made to our organization, we have renamed the Courage to Inspire Award in her memory: the Dr. Katie Manders Courage to Inspire Award.
Katie was an active member of the National Board of Directors since June 2007 and a true role model who had a spirit of fun and the ability to connect with everyone, especially children. She never let her disability affect her quality of life, and she was an inspiration to the Muscular Dystrophy Canada community.
The memory of Dr. Katie Manders will live on in the hearts and minds of those she touched, and they are many. She passed away January 29th, 2016.
Presented to an individual, or group, that has had an enduring (over a number of years) relationship with Muscular Dystrophy Canada through giving (financial or time) or the organization of a special event. The nominees will have exhibited exceptional contributions to the organization in any of the awards categories.