April 10th to April 16th 2016 is National Volunteer Week.
Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. Just like roots are essential for trees to bloom, volunteers are essential for communities to boom. Thanks to volunteers, our communities grow strong and resilient. Even the tiniest volunteer effort leaves a profound and lasting trace in a community, much like tree rings that appear over time.
I am writing this letter on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Board of Directors and Staff, as well as all persons affected by neuromuscular disorders including those who are impacted directly, their friends, families, caregivers and healthcare professionals to recognize and celebrate your contributions as the roots of our community.
We’re extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished and impacts we’ve made on the lives of those affected by a neuromuscular disorder. As a leadership volunteer in one of our regions, Chapters or Fire Departments, you demonstrate Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s values of courage, determination, passion and caring in all that you do. We have accomplished so much over the last few years including focusing on our strategic priorities on the ever changing demographics of our client base. We continue to look towards the day we’ll find a cure. And as more people join us to help carry our message across Canada, the closer we’ll get to that goal.
Once again, I express our highest level of appreciation to all of you for making such a vital contribution to our work.
Buzz Green – Chair, Board of Directors
Dr. Craig Campbell, MD, MSc, FRCPC, is a Pediatric Neurologist at Children’s Hospital London Health Sciences Centre, the medical director of the neuromuscular clinic at the Thames Valley Children’s Centre, and Associate Professor at University of Western Ontario. He is the principal investigator for several clinical trials studying new therapies for muscular dystrophy. He has been instrumental in bringing three ground-breaking clinical trials for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy into Canada. Participation in these trials has the dual benefit of putting Canada in the forefront of the latest therapeutic research conducted world-wide for this disorder and links Canada with numerous other clinical trial sites around the world. As well, by facilitating the establishment of these trials in hospitals across Canada, Dr. Campbell has been an integral component of making participation in these trials available to eligible patients across Canada.
To increase public understanding of these trials, Dr. Campbell created an innovative webinar to inform patients about various therapeutic options currently under investigation, the clinical trial process and the importance of choosing to participate in clinical trials.
Dr. Campbell is also actively involved in the ongoing work of the Canadian Paediatric Neurology Group, an organization of Canadian paediatric neurologists working toward the establishment of standards of care and a patient registry database for various forms of neuromuscular disorders. Through this clinic-based database, neurology clinics will be able to register patient information that will facilitate linking patients with appropriate clinical trial opportunities. This is of significant benefit to both patients and the research community.
Dr. Campbell is also active with Muscular Dystrophy Canada through the MSAC Committee. He is available by phone, email and in person at conferences. He is a much-needed source of information and inspiration for families and patients dealing with neuromuscular disorders.
Cathy Cunningham has been affecting and enhancing the lives of Muscular Dystrophy Canada clients since 1995 when her son became a client. She has been involved with the Okanagan Affiliate and was directly responsible for the creation of the South Okanagan Chapter. Since its creation she has been striving to challenge her chapter with new and creative means of bringing new sources of donation revenue.
Cathy has been on the National Board of Directors as well as serving as Chair of the National Chapter Relations Committee for three years. While Chairing the Chapter Relations Committee, Cathy was also a member of the National Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and sat on the Governance and Mandate Committee. Cathy has been involved with projects like the creation of the Chapter Manual including its revisions, the Chapter Network Engagement Project and planning and hosting various National Chapter Conferences.
Cathy is a strong and influential member in her community and with that she has become a driving force in fundraising and awareness in that region. Cathy expanded her project “Lift for Life” to an online fundraiser and coordinated a very interesting session on adaptive recreation at the National 2010 Youth in Action Conference in Toronto.
Cathy has also aligned herself with Power Soccer, which is a sport that offers Muscular Dystrophy Canada clients and those with other disabilities the ability to compete with and against their peers in a safe and inclusive environment. She is involved with this sport both at the provincial (BC president) and National (board member) level. She feels that this sport is a benefit to Muscular Dystrophy Canada as most of the participants are clients that the organization supports. Cathy is forward thinking and always trying to expand Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s reach while keeping the organization’s mission in sight.
Rod MacDonald has made a huge impact on developing Fire Fighter activity in Prince Edward Island and across the Atlantic region in the last three years. Rod is the Fire Fighter Advisor for PEI on the National Fire Fighter Relations Committee. Rod attends as many chapter meetings as he can, and helps the local PEI Chapter with their Walk for Muscular Dystrophy by engaging Fire Fighter support from local departments through BBQs and event set up at the Walk. He, along with his wife, also spends time selling holiday ornaments and raffle tickets for various campaigns.
Rod has attended and presented at multiple Fire Fighter conferences in his home province and across the country to discuss his role and importance of Fire Fighter participation in Muscular Dystrophy Canada campaigns. Rod has recruited new Fire departments to participate in Fire Fighters events in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, including boot drives which have increased the donations received dramatically.
Rod is extremely dedicated to his role and Muscular Dystrophy Canada. He spends countless hours volunteering, fundraising, arranging important sponsorships, and recruiting other Fire Fighters for the cause.
Several years ago Suzanne Rancourt met Kevin Harrison and other courageous people who inspired her to get involved in helping Muscular Dystrophy Canada make a difference. For eight years, Suzanne Rancourt has been a member of the Organizing Committee for The Great Show of Montreal and a member of the Campaign Committee. The Great Show is the annual Gala in Montreal and the closing event for the annual fundraising campaign for Québec. The Show features cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions and entertainment. It involves around 600 attendees and approximately $400,000 raised annually. Suzanne contributes to the purchase of three to four tables every year at The Great Show. Suzanne was the Honourary President of The Great Show in 2009.
Suzanne has been instrumental in creating partnerships to Muscular Dystrophy Canada with various major companies, including CGI, Desjardins, Samson Bélair, and Deloitte Touche. She also liaises with loyal partners who purchase tables at The Great Show, such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. Suzanne has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2011. Suzanne is a dedicated volunteer who is always friendly, extremely supportive and motivated for the cause.