Muscular Dystrophy Gala Very Moving

Vol 15, Issue 8, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

She was diagnosed with Spinal Atrophy Muscular Dystrophy 8 years ago at the young age of 3 years. Her name is Helen and although her movement is restricted to a motorized wheelchair, her comments about Muscular Dystrophy at the Leduc Firefighters Gala were very moving.

Helen has attended many fundraising events but on February 17th  stated , “this will be my first speech”. She confidently rolled her wheelchair out to the center of the Salon at Denhams Inn, faced the audience and began to tell her story. Helen was thankful to the firefighters and the audience because as she explained, ”this fundraiser is really important as even one dollar brings us even closer to finding a cure”.

“Because of my muscular dystrophy, my muscles make it hard for me to even write for a long time. Although difficult at times, it’s not too hard for me as I have really nice family and friends who take care of me all of the time.” Karen will be having spinal surgery in March, 2011.

The February 17th Gala was the first time Leduc fire fighters have held a Gala and a silent auction trying to raise funds for MD. They repeatedly stated they were hesitant to call it their Annual MD Gala because they don’t want this to be an annual event. Their goal is to help find a cure and put an end to this disease.  Rest assured though, they will be back next year and every year after that to raise awareness and money for MD until a cure is found.

Starting at noon on Feb 22nd and ending on Feb 25th  at 2:00 pm, four City of Leduc fire fighters will be camping on the roof of Fire Station #1 located at 4119 - 50 Street in Leduc. The reason — to raise awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.

Over the years, people have heard of different illnesses such as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” which struck the hall of fame baseball player in 1939. Lou Gehrig’s disease was the term given to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is a degenerative neuromuscular  disorder which slowly steals a persons muscle tissue as the muscle wastes away.

There is no “cookie cutter” explanation for MD like there is for say, cardiovascular disease. We know what causes cardiovascular disease, we know that exercise and a proper diet can help to prevent it, and we know what we should do if we are having chest pain (heart attack). Muscular Dystrophy is different in that we know it is hereditary, it can affect a person from new borns to the elderly, and its onset can be fast or take years to develop. There are now more than 160 different types of MD that have been identified and all are different versions of degenerative neuromuscular disease.

The “Fire on the Roof” campaign is part of a larger Muscular Dystrophy campaign that will see fire fighters from all across North America raise funds for research and services for those with MD. 100% of all funds raised in Canada will stay in Canada.

While four Leduc firefighters are on the roof raising awareness, other firefighters will be at Station #1 taking donations. Join them at either location and put a donation in their firefighter’s boot.

For more information or to make a donation contact Douglas Britton, President, Leduc Fire Fighters Association  (780) 953-3684.

 

Photo Right: The honored guest speaker at the Gala  was 11 year old Helen. She was surrounded by many ceremonial uniforms.  Photos by Barry McDonald

 
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