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#Walk4MD 10 years of FUN-raising and support: Team Alex

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The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy season is upon us and we’re thrilled to be celebrating our 10th anniversary of our signature event nationwide.  So it’s time to get on those computers and sign up to walk, wheel or roll at your local #Walk4MD event!

The #Walk4MD is a celebration and fundraising event in support of Canadian individuals and families affected by neuromuscular disorders. This fully accessible event takes place in 50 locations across Canada, and includes activities for kids, snacks, refreshments prizes and our beloved Fire Fighters.

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Rock on for a cure!

Crew and his painted rocks

Crew and his painted rocks

Ethan (13) and Crew (8) Poirier are no strangers to raising money to support the work of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. They have accompanied the Anderson family to each and every Brandon Walk for Muscular Dystrophy since the Walk started in the community back in 2010. They got involved because of their friend Andrea Anderson who was an inspiration to all that met her. Sadly, as a result of complications with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, Andrea passed away on April 11, 2015. Ethan and Chase have remained active and involved in honour of their friend Andrea.

The boys have found unique ways to fundraise including hosting an annual Valentines’ Day fundraising party with their grandparents, creating and selling rainbow loom bracelets, preparing and selling sold baked goods at a garage sale, and more. This year, Crew decided that he wanted to raise money for the Walk by selling beautifully painted rocks that he made over the summer – and his contribution helped Team Andrea raise over $1,500. Crew is already planning his rock sales for next summer and plans to expand to create and sell even more rocks!

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Fabulous Fundraising: How One Team Raised $72,000

 

erinkenstoryFourteen-year-old Erin Novakowski is a typical teenaged girl who really loves Starbucks, her phone and shopping. She also happens to have a form of muscular dystrophy called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type II.

“Although I never let my disability stop me from doing the things I love, I use lots of assistive equipment to help me throughout the day,” she explains. “And sure, people stare at me, but I just like to think it’s because I’m fabulous and they want to know where I got my pants.”

Erin’s infectious enthusiasm for life is one of the things that her friend Nicole loves about her. “She’s the girl who knows how to make the best out of any situation,” she says. And while Erin and Nicole’s relationship began because Nicole works part-time as Erin’s care aid, their bond has deepened well past the usual hallmarks of friendship, leaving the two of them feeling like sisters.

 

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Walk4MD 2016 Season Wrap-up

Surrey Walk4MD

Surrey Walk4MD

British Columbia

The Walks for Muscular Dystrophy have been a great success in BC this year. All together they raised over $130,000! In Victoria, Burnaby, Surrey and Nanaimo, as well as Penticton and the Walk for Lysa in Abbotsford, we had record attendance and huge support from the local community. This year new sponsors joined us like Vitalaire and Boehringer Ingelheim in addition we had a huge network of local businesses that provided prizes and in kind gifts. Once again our extended family at Muscular Dystrophy Canada stepped up the plate with teams fundraisings, volunteers coming forward to help, staff going above and beyond – everyone did their part to make this a successful year.

We’d like to send a special thank you to our ambassadors this year, Emily Swain (Victoria), Dale McLeod (Burnaby) Tyler Gallant (Surrey) and Ross Wristen (Nanaimo) – as Ross passed away earlier in the year, the Nanaimo Walk was also a celebration of his life, we’d like to extend thanks to his family and friends for allowing us to share that day with them.

Alberta

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Erin and her Squad

Alberta had a record breaking year, with many of their events reaching and exceeding goals. The star in Alberta this year was the Calgary Walk. Calgary doubled their goal and raised almost $120,000, with the help of the top team, Erin’s squad, who raised an incredible $71,000! Another Calgary shout out goes to Ken Carlson, the top fundraiser across Canada,  who single handedly raised over $56,000 for the Walk4MD.

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Fire Fighters on their connection to the MDC community

September is Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month, and no one helps us spread awareness of neuromuscular disorders like our clients and our close friends, the Fire Fighters of Canada.  

roundsticker_EFire Fighters share a unique and special bond with both Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the United States of America. In the same year MDC became an organization, 1954, the IAFF resolved to support muscular dystrophy associations to help make their campaigns a success.

Today, we are still working together providing support and funding for assistive devices, and research towards a cure. We asked our Fire Fighter friends from across Canada to describe their connection to MDC and those living with neuromuscular disorders:

“I am one of the co organizers of our Dauphin Fire Department Rooftop Campout for Muscular Dystrophy.  I am inspired to see families affected by muscular dystrophy overcome their challenges and live life to the fullest. I am proud to be part of this team, and I will continue to fight alongside Muscular Dystrophy Canada until a cure is found.  I started this because I knew our Department, Members and Community would stand behind it.  We help people, and those that need our help we step up for them.  I am honored to be able to make a difference.”

Robbie Tomkins

Dauphin Fire Department – MB

 

“I started fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy when I joined Tumbler Ridge Fire Department. Through the years, seeing the positive outlook and courage to overcome so many obstacles people with neuromuscular disorders face keeps me motivated to continue to fundraise until there is a cure. Their never give up attitude when faced with these challenges has shown me to never give up when faced with my own.”

Diana Vandale

Tumbler Ridge Fire Department

Northern Region Advisor – BC/Yukon

 

“Tradition, commitment and hope are words that I use to explain to people what our relationship is with Muscular Dystrophy Canada and those affected by neuromuscular disorders. The fire service took on a commitment in 1954 to support this charity. We will continue to fundraise, be advocates and support them, with the hope that a cure will be found. Great strides have been taken allowing people with neuromuscular disorders to live better quality of lives. I’ve had the opportunity over the last 15 years to attend conferences, events & meet the people and families who are affected by neuromuscular disorders. Their positive attitude and outlook on life inspires me to continue our efforts. Listening to the researchers, I know that day is on the horizon. Together we can make muscles move!”

Captain Bob Patton

Nelson Fire Rescue

Nelson PFFA Local 1343

BC/Yukon Advisor

BC Rep NFFRC

 

“I started doing this work, and continue to do so, because of the people I have met.  Some of the people I drove early in my career, passed away at an early age; now I have many friends affected by neuromuscular disorders, some well into their adult lives. I like to think the work of all the Fire Fighters makes a huge difference for those affected by making it easier for equipment to be funded and for researchers to work at searching for a cure.

The people I have met – those affected by neuromuscular disorders, their families, other Fire Fighters, staff, board members, researchers and volunteers – have all made me a better, more compassionate, and focused person. Leana and I even rode our motorcycle across Canada this year, which we probably wouldn’t have done if I were not attending the Atlantic Fire Fighters Conference during Youth In Action Atlantic.

After over a decade of fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, two of my siblings were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, so the quest for a cure continues.”

Kerry Zado

Langford Fire Rescue

Lower Vancouver Island Region Advisor – BC/Yukon

National Fire Fighter Relations Committee Chair

 

“I started supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada before I became a Fire Fighter when I would help my Dad and other members of the Fire Department with the Annual Boot Drive.

When I became a Member of Ladysmith Fire/Rescue, I took a full and active role in the fundraising and eventually was asked to represent the Department at the Annual Conference and Banquet in Vancouver. That weekend changed my life. That weekend listening to clients share their stories and relay how the Fire Fighters have impacted their lives made an immediate impact. I approached the Fire Fighter Advisor for my region and said, ‘If there is anything I can do to help just let me know!’

I became convinced that no matter what we did we needed to do more, and started working on ways to increase our efforts in both fundraising and raising awareness. Ladysmith Fire/Rescue still has it Annual Boot Drive, and now we also have a booth at our town’s annual Christmas Festival of Lights, as well as a Haunted House for Halloween. We are also major supporters of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in our area, which I am also the local coordinator of. I have had many great opportunities since becoming involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, but nothing compares to the friends I have made with the people within this organization, fellow Fire Fighters, employees, and clients alike.”

Dwain King – Ladysmith Fire/Rescue

 

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