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Team Ambassador raising the bar for the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

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Georgia and her sister Charlotte.

Georgia and her sister Charlotte.

Since our children have been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), our awareness regarding people with neuromuscular conditions has skyrocketed. We are starting to recognize that although there is no current cure for many of these conditions (including both SMA and other forms of muscular dystrophy); walks such as these not only increase support for these specific conditions, but also increase societal awareness for the daily difficulties that must be overcome for both the people living with the condition, and their caregivers. There is a current goal by our government to make Saskatchewan the most livable province in the country for people with disabilities, and having walks such as these continue to support this endeavour.

Everyone feels at least some things in their life are out of their control, but when Georgia was diagnosed with SMA we felt that almost ALL things were out of our control. We were afraid and helpless, and didn’t know what to do. But the tide is turning. We are no longer asking the ‘why us’ question, but rather the ‘what next’ question. And that is where walks like this are so vital. It is time to look at today, tomorrow, and beyond. How can we support those with neuromuscular conditions today, and cure the conditions tomorrow and beyond? Public knowledge and support into these devastating conditions WILL lead to tangible changes.

When our daughter was asked to be the Ambassador of the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy  we almost cried, and we can not totally explain why. Maybe it was a multitude of factors. It was the first time that her condition had been publicly recognized, in the larger sense. And although this lead to a certain combination of fear and anxiety, we recognized that sharing her condition with the general public was both an important, and necessary process that we had to go through.

The view that Georgia would be a ‘leader’ of this devastating condition struck our hearts.  It was a true honour for us to hear that Georgia was chosen to be in this role, and we were very excited to tell our family!

AmbassadorPNGOur friends and family have been enormously supportive! Their compassion and empathy has been well beyond our expectations.  It took zero convincing and zero effort to garner their support. We literally told them that there was a walk in September for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and Georgia was asked to be the ambassador. That’s all we had to say. Our family is heavily involved in Georgia’s life and when we found out that Georgia had SMA, our ‘hurt’ instinctively became their ‘hurt.’ We could not have been blessed with a better support network of friends and family.

With the care and compassion of our family and friends, it seemed like people were waiting for such an event to occur so that they could publicly declare their support for Georgia.

Social media has also been a great tool to get the word out. My husband and I both sent e-mails out to our friends, and we received a great response. Richard then posted the walk on his Facebook account, and many friends decided to either donate or join the team.  Our friends have shared the link on their Facebook accounts, so we’ve been receiving donations not only from family and close friends, but also from friends of friends! The more ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ that Team Ambassador’s page received, the more support we had! People have been so extremely generous, and we are so grateful!

We chose Team Ambassador as our team name because in our own way, we are all capable of being ‘ambassadors’ for this cause. Each member of our team has been affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and now we are all being called to be ambassadors to create awareness for neuromuscular conditions. Although Georgia is only two and a half years old, we are hopeful that throughout her life she will be an inspiration to others, and that this is the first of many leading roles she takes on.

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Crystal Nataraj is the mother of two beautiful little girls, Georgia and Charlotte, who are both affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Daughter Georgia is the Ambassador for the 2014 Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy taking place on September 6th. Within 11 days of fundraising, Team Ambassador surpassed their fundraising goal of $10,000.

Learn more about the Saskatoon Walk here. Find and support your local walk by clicking here.

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