National Volunteer Week 2013: Thank you Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Volunteers

jumpingwalk.mlThe Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is a fully accessible fundraising event that is fun for the whole family! Funds raised through the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy are used to assist people with neuromuscular disorders through education, information, support, advocacy and funding for research and assistive devices.  There are 58 events held between April and October across Canada, and volunteers are essential to each event!  From volunteers on the planning committee and coordinators of fundraisers to event day helpers who assist with set up, registration, take down and more! The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy relies on the dedication and generosity of volunteers! Read about some of the wonderful volunteers involved with the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy.


At the 2012 Peel Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

At the 2012 Peel Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

Lucy DaSilva:

Lucy has been an active volunteer for Muscular Dystrophy Canada for many years. As a member of the Peel Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy volunteer planning committee, an active fundraiser and participant, Lucy works hard to support a cause that is important to her.

Lucy DaSilva has come up with a way to combine her passion for raising funds and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Canada with one of her hobbies. During the holiday season, Lucy puts her needle and thread to work and sells handmade accessories, and donates the profits to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

“With muscular dystrophy a part of my life, I feel that giving back is rewarding.  I have met a lot of friends along the way and maybe one day my work will help others to beat muscular dystrophy and find a cure,” said Lucy.



Annette Sultana and her nephew

Annette Sultana and her nephew

Annette Sultana:

The driving force behind the Peel Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy silent auction is Annette Sultana, a long-time Muscular Dystrophy Canada volunteer. Annette dedicates her time to the silent auction like a full time job, and it continues to be one of the reasons people look forward to the Walk every year!

Annette, who was diagnosed with SMA at the age of seven, always knew that she wanted to give back to an organization that had given to her, and has been a member of the volunteer planning committee for the past three years. “I stopped working about five years ago, and wanted to do something productive and important. So, when MDC called looking for volunteers, I agreed. Being a part of the planning committee gives me the opportunity to use my skills, discover new ones, and most importantly, to give back to an organization that has given so much to so many.”



Lisa Headrick and her family

Lisa Headrick and her family

Lisa Headrick:

2013 marks the launch of the Sarnia Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, and it’s all thanks to Lisa Headrick and her close-knit group of family and friends.

Having participated in the London Walk for the last few years, Lisa decided that there was a great opportunity for an event like this in her community. She had brought out at least 30 people to the London Walk and was sure more people would be interested in participating in their own community. “I got in contact with [Muscular Dystrophy Canada] and got all of the information, I discussed it with a few of the people that were interested in being on the committee and we decided to go for it,” Lisa says of her decision.

Lisa spends a lot of her free time working on the Walk and trying to spread the word. “I think the best way to raise awareness is to talk about it. I talk about the Walk to everyone I see and everyone I know, there are a generous amount of people that have never heard of muscular dystrophy and I make it my duty to explain what it is to people when they are unaware.

Thank you Lucy, Annette, Lisa and all the many wonderful volunteers who spend time on the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy planning committees and working as event volunteers!


National Volunteer Week 2013: Thank you Fire Fighters

Sarnia RC 1Canadian Fire Fighters have played an integral role for Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1954.  Since that time, Muscular Dystrophy Canada has been supported by more than 600 Fire Departments and Associations across Canada, who currently raise close to $3 million dollars annually – for a total of over $70 million since 1954.  Each year, Career and Volunteer Fire Fighters give time both during their on and off-duty hours to organize Boot Drives, Rooftop Campouts, car washes, pancake breakfasts, magic shows, “Buck For Luck” campaigns, pub crawls, ladder-a-thons, raffles, and sporting events in support of an estimated 50,000 Canadians with neuromuscular disorders.  Through education, support, and media relations they generate much needed awareness of muscular dystrophy like no one else can.

We thank them for being our heroes every day, and for making a difference in the lives of people with neuromuscular disorders.  Here are just a couple examples of the amazing Fire Fighters who are helping make muscles move!


Greg Knight with Honourary London Fire Chief Owen McGonigal

Greg Knight with London’s honorary Fire Chief Owen McGonigal

Greg Knight:

It all began in 1990 with a boot drive from the Blenheim/Harwich Fire Department.  Twenty-three years later, London Fire Fighter Greg Knight would have to admit there are some flames that shouldn’t be put out.  His commitment to assisting those affected with neuromuscular disorders has been unwavering since that first boot drive and his inspiration is drawn from the incredible people he has met along the way.

As Chair of the National Fire Fighters Relations Committee, he considers himself lucky to be surrounded by so many dedicated Fire Fighters from across the country and knows that with the strength of this committed group, there are possibilities for great things.  In his own words, he has “committed for the long haul” to making sure all Canadians with neuromuscular disorders continue to know that Fire Fighters are fighting for a cure.


Mario Martin

Mario Martin

Mario Martin:

For the past 11 years, Fire Fighter Mario Martin, Chief of Operations at the Longueuil Fire Department, has been in charge of organizing the Montreal Scott Skyscraper Challenge. Mario Martin is passionate about the Challenge and works tirelessly to organize and promote the event. Thanks to him, it has become a flagship event in the Quebec emergency services community going from 2 participants in 2002 to more than 500 in 2012! Thanks to his hard work, Quebec Fire Fighters are more dedicated than ever to finding a cure for neuromuscular disorders. As a Fire Fighter, using muscles is essential, which is why this cause is so close to Mario’s heart. He decided to use his muscles to climb the steps and give hope to thousands of people affected with neuromuscular disorders, but we think he’s using his most important muscle: his heart!

Thank you Fire Fighters for your courage, passion, determination and caring!

National Volunteer Week 2013: Thank you Volunteers!

I volunteer!There are an unlimited number of ways to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada as a volunteer.  Office volunteers, event volunteers, chapter members, Board of Directors members, and fundraising volunteers are all in high demand.  Muscular Dystrophy Canada is a volunteer-driven organization and relies on dedicated, enthusiastic, diverse and dynamic people to help us meet our mission. Volunteers are respected members of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s team and play a vital role in the delivery of our fundraising campaigns, programs and services.  Here are just a few stories of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s wonderful volunteers!  Learn how to get involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Jessica Dell'Unto

Jessica Dell’Unto

Jessica Dell’Unto:

I started with Muscular Dystrophy Canada as a client in 2011 when I was diagnosed with Limb Girdle but I have recently become involved as a volunteer. I am a peer mentor at the Toronto Chapter meeting and am planning to get involved with as many Walk for Muscular Dystrophy events this summer as possible. Volunteering has given me so many opportunities to network, learn about the resources available through MDC, and above all else, give back to an organization that has supported me in so many ways.


Helen Cornett:

Helen Cornett with her Diamond Jubilee Medal

Helen Cornett with her Diamond Jubilee Medal

Helen Cornett has been an active volunteer with Muscular Dystrophy Canada for nearly 35 years. Her commitment and dedication to the organization has been truly astounding.  Helen has been an active executive member of the Windsor Chapter since its inception.

Through the Windsor Chapter, Helen also administers the annual Buck for Luck campaign where she diligently delivers kits throughout the Windsor and Essex region. She works hard year after year to recruit new establishments and ensure Muscular Dystrophy Canada is visible throughout the community.

Over the years, Helen has volunteered with the Windsor Chapter and Muscular Dystrophy Canada in as many roles as possible. She was a previous board member for the organization and has taken on nearly every Chapter Executive role. She is a very dedicated and committed volunteer who takes pride in her commitment to enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders.

Françoise Béland (centre in white)

Françoise Béland (centre in white)

Françoise Béland:

Françoise Béland is an extremely active and dedicated volunteer for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The time and commitment that she puts forth towards her activities with the organization is truly remarkable.

Françoise helped to create the Ottawa Chapter group with her husband in 1997 and has been a devoted and enthusiastic volunteer ever since. Françoise has been an active Chapter executive member for the past 15 years, taking on various roles including her current role as treasurer. She arranges Chapter meetings and the Ottawa Chapter support group and ensures all members are included. Françoise also prepares the meals for special meetings so that members have the opportunity to get together over a great meal.

Françoise and her family

Françoise and her family

Françoise is also the driving force behind all of the Ottawa Chapter fundraising activities, along with her husband J.P. and son Luc. Françoise recruits and organizes over 40 volunteers at the annual Ottawa Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, and coordinates to ensure the largest and highest fundraising annual Walk event in Ontario is a success year after year. Françoise also dedicates countless hours to the annual Buck for Luck and Christmas ornaments campaign. Because of her efforts, the Ottawa Chapter is consistently the highest fundraising Chapter across the country for both of these campaigns.

Thank you Jessica, Helen and Françoise, and all volunteers, for your commitment to Muscular Dystrophy Canada!

Team Kenti invites you to their annual fundraiser on April 13, 2013

It’s that time of the year again!

Team Kenti, the 2012 York Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy top fundraising team are hosting their annual event in support of their fundraising efforts.

Join Team Kenti and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment and fun, while supporting a cause that is very close to their hearts. The event includes live music by the band House of Voodoo, door prizes, draws, a challenge game and snacks.

Members of Team Kenti, including Jan Switzer (second from right) and  Julia Chernin, from Muscular Dystrophy Canada (right).

Members of Team Kenti, including Jan Switzer (second from right) and Julia Chernin, from Muscular Dystrophy Canada (right).

Jan Switzer, a member of Team Kenti fundraises and participates each year because she believes in the benefits of the event. “The most important message from the Walk is the education it provides. When I participated in the first Walk, very few of my sponsors even knew about muscular dystrophy. The Walk provides awareness; [it is] the first step to putting more focus onto the disease; the individuals who suffer and the families who provide endless hours/years of strength & support.”

Event Details:

Date: Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time: Doors open at 1:30 pm, the event runs from 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Locations: The El Mocambo Tavern – 464 Spadina Avenue, Toronto (Map)

Cost: $20 includes all activities and snacks. Food and drinks are available for purchase.

We hope to see you there!