The Tradition of Fill the Boot

La version française suit.

Over the years Canadian Fire Fighters, our biggest supporters have helped Muscular Dystrophy Canada to continue to fund research, provide essential services and equipment to people affected by neuromuscular disorders.   Our long standing and strong partnership continues to be a historical pillar.  Throughout our history and to this day, Fire Fighters have been creative in their fundraising efforts.  Fire Fighters have had chicken wing eating contests, car washes, motorcycle rides but the most recognizable and used is the Fill the Boot campaign or the Fire Fighter Boot Toll.  Even with newer events like the Rooftop Campouts money is still largely collected in a Fire Fighter’s boot.

Below is a photo from the Muscular Dystrophy Reporter Spring Issue from 1966, showcasing the, “new amusing technique of receiving contributions.”

Band Concert FtB spring issue 1966 p3

The Fill the Boot has its roots dating back to the early 1950s in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States of America, a Fire Fighter came across a colleague who was with an old friend. The friend had two sons, both affected by neuromuscular disorders, who needed money for their care. With canisters in hand, the Fire Fighters raised $5,000. This grew Boston-wide, and during the International Association of Fire Fighters 22nd convention in 1954, the original fundraisers from Boston campaigned for the cause. The IAFF set up the partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which was also inherited by the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada soon after its founding.

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La tradition des barrages routiers

Au cours des années, les pompiers canadiens, nos plus fidèles alliés, ont aidé Dystrophie musculaire Canada à financer la recherche et à fournir des services essentiels et des aides techniques aux personnes touchées par une maladie neuromusculaire. Ce partenariat de longue date continue d’être un pilier de notre histoire. Si, au fil des ans, les pompiers ont toujours fait preuve de beaucoup d’ingéniosité pour recueillir des fonds (concours de mangeurs d’ailes de poulet, lave-o-thons, tournées à moto, etc.), le moyen le plus souvent utilisé et le plus facilement reconnaissable est sans conteste le barrage routier. Même dans le cadre des plus récents événements-bénéfice, par exemple les campings sur le toit, c’est encore le barrage routier qui, le plus souvent, sert à récolter des fonds.

La photo ci-dessous, tirée du numéro du printemps 1966 du Muscular Dystrophy Reporter, montre cette « nouvelle technique amusante de recueillir les contributions ». (en anglais seulement)

Band Concert FtB spring issue 1966 p3

Les barrages routiers remontent au début des années 1950. Dans la région de Boston, au Massachusetts, un pompier rencontra un ami de longue date, lui aussi pompier, dont les deux garçons étaient atteints d’une maladie neuromusculaire. Le père ayant besoin d’argent pour payer leurs soins, les deux collègues se mirent à tendre leur tirelire aux passants et réussirent ainsi à recueillir la somme de 5 000 $. Très vite, cette pratique s’est répandue dans toute la ville et en 1954, lors du 22e congrès de l’International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), les deux pompiers de Boston firent campagne pour leur cause. L’IAFF s’est alors associée à la Muscular Dystrophy Association américaine pour se transférer par la suite à l’Association canadienne de la dystrophie musculaire, peu de temps après sa fondation.

Filling Boots in Sudbury

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Fire Fighters organize events year-round and help raise funds in support of those affected by neuromuscular disorders.   The most successful fundraiser is the Fill the Boot.  Fire Fighters hold out their boots in parking lots, in front of stores and even on the streets and ask the generous public if they would like to voluntarily make a donation.  The Sudbury Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 527 has been involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1972, and to date have raised $471,071.74! This year, with the help of local resident Kathy, Sudbury PFFA raised $34,120.20!

Kathy’s family is affected by neuromuscular disorders so she is very passionate about the great work Fire Fighters do for those affected.  She saves her money so she can visit their annual Fill the Boot and give a generous donation.  As a way to thank her, the Fire Fighters from Local 527 invited Kathy to spend an afternoon with them in their main station in late November.

IMG_2322Kathy says, “From the extensive tour of the station, to the company of such thoughtful individuals who give so freely to a cause they believe in, to the honour of breaking bread with such special people, to my privileged ride on the most mammoth piece of equipment, I’ve ever ridden in, to the totally unexpected gift of the magnificent flowers and the very touching greeting card– my word, how special you all made this woman feel yesterday!

I was particularly delighted to see that one of the pictures captured precisely the little girl thrill I felt to find myself on the hook and ladder!

My home wafts with the delightful smell of those glorious flowers and when I close my eyes, I smile and remember all those handsome faces with whom I shared time on November 28th.

Scott, please ensure that your colleagues in SPFFA Local 527 know that they qualify as heroes because they care so deeply about the community they serve. It was a pleasure to meet so many of the Fire Fighters who help Fill the Boot.  I trust that I communicated my deep gratitude to all present for their commitment to finding a cure to those neuromuscular disorders, including the variety that affects my family. Hopefully, the members now have a personal ‘face’ to attach to their efforts!

We have a target to beat next September… I’ve already begun saving!”

IMG_2316Scott Roper, the Muscular Dystrophy Canada Chairperson for Sudbury PFFA responded to Kathy by saying, “­­­­­­ You are most welcome and it was nice to have finally met you.  Thursday was just a small token to what you have given back to this community over the last few years and for that, we are thankful for it.  I was saying to my wife the other night, seeing you on Thursday and watching how happy you were, makes my decision 15 years ago to become a Fire Fighter, worth every penny and heartache to achieve my goal.  Helping out in the community is the most beneficial part of our job and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks again and look forward to seeing you next year, at the Fill the Boot.  Maybe you could collect some money with us for a few minutes.”

Thank you to Kathy and the Fire Fighters from Sudbury PFFA Local 527 for sharing your amazing experience with us! We are grateful for your generosity and to the people of Sudbury who donated to the Fill the Boot campaign.

 

Then and Now

stephen rysen-2012 walk for md

Living with Muscular Dystrophy has to involve a positive attitude. There are lots of obstacles with Muscular Dystrophy that include the loss of strength and mobility, loss of friends with Muscular Dystrophy, fear and depression. But there are ways to overcome this by becoming proactive and helping others with Muscular Dystrophy. Muscular Dystrophy Canada has provided me the opportunity to become proactive by allowing my participation in their fundraising events and Muscular Dystrophy Firefighter Conventions. Therefore it has provided positive energy for me and allowed my dream to come true as a public speaker.

Stephen Rysen and Tina Rysen- 1995 FF ConferenceI started speaking at 12 when I became a Muscular Dystrophy Canada Campaign Assistant which involved an interview for the annual Labour Day telethon to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy. Although it did not appear on television it opened the doors for more opportunities for involvement with Muscular Dystrophy Canada. I participated in my first Muscular Dystrophy Firefighter Convention and did my first ever speech. The speech is one I will never forget. I was on stage after watching a comedian, which caused me laugh during my speech when I lost track from the notes I was reading from. But I was able to improvise and finish my speech. Furthermore I rebounded with a speech at a charity golf tournament for Muscular Dystrophy Canada to say thanks to the people for attending and the people that made it happen.  I have done four other presentations at Muscular Dystrophy Firefighter Conventions which included 2 speeches for the Muscular Dystrophy Canada career program named Bridges to the Future and 2 speeches about life with Muscular Dystrophy. The two speeches about my life story with Muscular Dystrophy have been successful that I have gone to the Justice Institute of British Columbia to talk to future firefighters about the firefighters’ tradition of fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Speaking at an early age has given me the confidence to still speak at conferences and speaking engagements today.

I have given back to Muscular Dystrophy Canada: by fundraising, by visiting and advertising boot drives, by shooting a client video, by participating in a Shell Buzzy fundraiser and doing a ceremonial puck drop between Ryan Walter and Ron Duguay at a celebrity pro-am charity hockey game. Muscular Dystrophy Canada is a helpful foundation that I am thankful for because of their efforts to fight this disease. But I’m also here to help others live Muscular Dystrophy. Therefore I assist Muscular Dystrophy Canada by attracting more donations by providing awareness through fundraising and public speaking.

stephen rysen-2011 walk for mdWhen fundraising or going to speaking engagements it gives me a chance to provide uplifting positive energy onto others. Therefore people want to know where the money is going and how to receive more donations. People with Muscular Dystrophy need positive energy to shine over the dark cloud. Talking about the negative parts of Muscular Dystrophy provides me the strength to provide positive energy to become proactive by attracting others to help people with Muscular Dystrophy. Furthermore getting money donated to this organization can provide abilities with equipment, career counseling, support groups, support programs and provide much needed research programs and trials. Being able to talk to people makes me fortunate to continue my dream of speaking and provides me positive energy to be thankful to be alive because of people being proactive against Muscular Dystrophy.

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Stephen Rysen is a 30 year old with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He has been volunteering with Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1995, and continues to be spread awareness today by getting involved in the fire department, speaking to new fire fighter recruits, speaking at fire fighter conferences, and fundraising in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy. Stephen has been named the 2014 Vancouver Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Ambassador. His positive attitude continues to inspire everyone around him. 

Register for a Walk near you today!

Team AMC Bears

Logan_for webTeam AMC Bears has participated in the Regina Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy since 2012.  Front and center of the team is the inspiration why Team AMC Bears participate in the Walk, Logan Heathcote.

Logan was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congentia  (AMC) and at the tender age of 2.5 years, Logan remains an inspiration to not only his team, but so many others he has met in his role of Walk Ambassador of 2013.

Last year’s Walk season provided Logan and his family many opportunities to create awareness not only about AMC and other neuromuscular disorders, but disabilities in general.  AMC Bears accepted the role of ambassador and used this role to connect with the local community of Regina in any opportunity they could. Logan’s cheery smile warmed the hearts of many persons as he thanked local  Lowe’s Canada, Menchies and Safeway managers and employees for their support of person with neuromuscular disorders.

To assist in their fundraising, Team AMC Bears hosted a series of fundraisers for their team. Hosting a Gymkhana event, and Paintball fundraiser were just a few of the efforts that this team did to raise awareness and contribute to their donation of over $5800.

Logan’s Mom Tahnee Dubois was interviewed at one of the fundraisers they hosted for the Walk and shared that “if anything, fundraising has inspired me to go above and beyond to the best I can for Logan, I also want to raise awareness about neuromuscular disorders for other families who are faced with this diagnosis in the future.”

 

2014 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Contest highlights Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s 60 Years of Progress

The 2014 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy season is fast-approaching so it’s time to get registered and kick-start your fundraising efforts. To recognize Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s 60th year, 60 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy events will be taking place across the country. In honour of the occasion, we are holding a new contest!

ipad2Register and raise $60 online at least 60 days before your local Walk for Muscular Dystrophy event and you will be entered for a chance to win an iPad!

Some Ontario Walk for Muscular Dystrophy events are coming up quickly! Raise your $60 by February 26th for the NEW Guelph & Area event, by February 27th for the Windsor Walk and by March 4th for the Toronto Walk to be entered for a chance to win! Be sure to register today!

If you have any questions about the contest, feel free to get in touch with us a walkformusculardystrophy.on@muscle.ca or 1-866-687-2538 ext 131.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Walk for Muscular Dystrophy events!

A Family Connection

md2[1]La version française suit.

For one Muscular Dystrophy Canada family, the connection to the organization goes back almost 60 years. Ken Killen was a career Fire Fighter with the Kingston Fire Department, and began volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada in the late 1950s, a connection that carries on today through his daughter Debra Chiabai, and grandchildren Alex and Kate.

“My father was a career Fire Fighter in Kingston. He often had part time jobs in his off hours (bus driver, photographer, taxi driver) since in the early years it was not a particularly well paid job. Even though he was very busy with his full and part time work, he always made time to volunteer. The Fire Fighter charity of choice, then as now, was the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada,” remembers Debra. “I know he had a leadership role which I think would now be called Fire Fighter Advisor, but I’m not sure if that was just for his department or if it was more regional. He was responsible for a number of years for running the Kingston Telethon Centre and he also made frequent trips to the televised location in Watertown, New York to speak on behalf of Fire Fighters, co-host and to receive and deliver cheques. He would also take co-lead/coordinate the local canister drive and other events like McHappy Day. He also dressed up as a clown for fundraising events and to participate in the annual Kingston Santa Claus parade.”

md1[1]Debra would help out her dad with his volunteering duties when she could, “I loved to count the change from canisters. The mountain of change on the dining room table always looked huge and it was fun to see it slowly turn into rolls of coins. I became a really proficient roller of coins.”

“I also remember helping out with collecting coins at McHappy Day. I was quite young but I remember being struck by how drawn he was, in particular, to interacting with the children with muscular dystrophy. He was a natural both in knowing best how to help them while also giving them respect and a sense of dignity. I also remember answering the phones at the telethon at quite a young age and being very proud that MY Dad was on TV or running operations at the telethon centre.”

Her close interaction volunteering with her dad left a big impression, “I don’t really remember him specifically teaching me about muscular dystrophy or the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, but I gained a lot of impressions and attitudes about volunteering, and respect for people with disabilities through watching him interact with both people with disabilities and his peers. I was always aware of his leadership role and his mentoring of younger firefighters to get them involved in the cause. He also was never afraid to ask people for donations or services to help the cause.”

.facebook_291828501Debra took what she learned from her father with her through her life, volunteering at Telethons, and getting involved with other charities and mentoring programs when she moved away from Kingston. When Debra and her husband Lawrence welcomed twins Alex and Kate in 2000, she did not know that the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada was going to once again play a role in their life.

In 2003, Debra’s son Alex was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Within two months of the diagnosis, Debra began volunteering with the Ottawa Chapter. “After Alex was diagnosed I knew two things: I needed information and I needed to do something to help the cause. Partially it was a way to network and get information, but I also knew I needed to get involved in finding a cure and in helping others.  It had to mean more than just what was happening to our family.”

As she became more involved in the Chapter, Debra realized that there were leadership opportunities within the organization. “I was very interested in the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee so I started there, and then I was approached to be Ontario Chapter Advisor, and then National Chapter Advisor. I am not sure I would have put myself forward to be nominated to the Board because I did not feel particularly qualified, but now that I am on the Board I really enjoy being involved in the process of ensuring we do the best job everyday of delivering on our mission and vision. I also feel privileged to work with my fellow board members – a group of amazing and dedicated people.”

As the National Chapter Advisor, Debra chairs the Chapter Advisory Committee and reports back to the Board. She is also a member of the Executive Committee, representing volunteers and chapters, and a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee. “In all these roles, I attend meetings and conferences and provide support to volunteers and support the success of the organization in any way possible. I also attend international and national conferences as a volunteer representative of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. In the past two years I have been involved in meetings with the advocacy activities and conferences with the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, a national meeting for paediatric endocrinology, a national meeting for neuromuscular researchers, and the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy annual conference.”

What does Alex think of the family’s long-standing relationship with Muscular Dystrophy Canada?

IMG1830“I think Alex finds it comforting that it has been a part of our family for a very long time. My father died when Alex was a year old which was 1 ½ years before Alex was diagnosed. I often say that if my father was still alive he would be one of Alex’s champions and an avid volunteer for MDC. I think Alex finds comfort in knowing he has the organization behind him and supporting him. As a younger child he was eager to participate in awareness and media events. Now that he is older, he is a bit shyer about appearing publically.”

“Alex’s twin sister Kate has become a great fundraiser and volunteer for MDC because of her brother. She heads up our family and friends team each year for the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and proudly displays our top team plaque on the wall of her room. She loves to volunteer and really sees what a difference it can make in the lives of those with neuromuscular disorders. I think she also likes volunteering like Grandpa did.”

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Une tradition familiale

md2[1]Pour une famille de Dystrophie musculaire Canada, le lien avec l’organisation remonte à près de 60 ans. Ken Killen, un pompier du Service d’incendie de Kingston, a commencé à être bénévole pour l’Association canadienne de la dystrophie musculaire vers la fin des années 1950, une tradition que perpétue encore aujourd’hui sa fille, Debra Chiabai, et ses petits-enfants, Alex et Kate.

« Mon père était pompier à Kingston. Il a souvent occupé des emplois à temps partiel dans ses heures libres (chauffeur d’autobus, photographe, chauffeur de taxi). Il faut se rappeler que dans ces années-là, être pompier n’était pas particulièrement bien payé. Même si ses emplois à temps plein et à temps partiel le tenaient très occupé, il trouvait toujours le temps de faire du bénévolat. L’organisme caritatif privilégié par les pompiers, à cette époque comme aujourd’hui, était l’Association canadienne de la dystrophie musculaire, relate Debra. Je sais qu’il occupait un poste de responsabilité, ce qui équivaut aujourd’hui au rôle de représentant des pompiers, mais je ne suis pas certaine s’il était représentant de son service d’incendie ou des pompiers de sa région. Pendant plusieurs années, il a été chargé du centre d’appels de Kingston pour le Téléthon Jerry Lewis et il se rendait souvent à Watertown, New York, d’où était télévisé le téléthon, pour parler au nom des pompiers, agir comme animateur et recevoir et remettre des chèques. Il codirigeait aussi la campagne des tirelires de Kingston et d’autres activités comme le Grand McDon. Enfin, il se déguisait en clown lors d’activités-bénéfice et pour participer au défilé annuel du Père Noël de Kingston. »

md1[1]Debra aidait son père dans ses activités bénévoles chaque fois qu’elle le pouvait. « J’aimais bien compter la monnaie dans les tirelires. La montagne de monnaie sur la table de la salle à manger avait toujours l’air énorme et c’était amusant de la voir se transformer lentement en rouleaux. Je suis devenue très efficace à rouler des sous. »

« Je me rappelle aussi d’avoir aidé mon père à ramasser des dons au Grand McDon. J’étais très jeune mais je me rappelle avoir été frappée de voir sa façon d’interagir avec les gens, mais surtout avec les enfants atteints de dystrophie musculaire. Il avait vraiment un don, tant pour savoir la meilleure façon de les aider que pour leur donner du respect et un sens de la dignité. Je me rappelle aussi avoir répondu au téléphone lors du téléthon alors que j’étais encore très jeune. J’étais très fière que MON père passe à la télé et dirige les opérations au centre d’appels du téléthon. »

Être associée de près aux activités bénévoles de son père a fortement impressionné Debra : « Je ne me rappelle pas vraiment que mon père ait voulu m’enseigner quoi que ce soit sur la dystrophie musculaire ou sur l’Association canadienne de la dystrophie musculaire, mais j’ai beaucoup appris sur le bénévolat et le respect des personnes handicapées en le voyant agir, tant avec les personnes atteintes qu’avec ses collègues. J’étais toujours consciente de son rôle de leader et de mentor auprès des pompiers plus jeunes pour les inciter à s’impliquer pour la cause. Il n’avait jamais peur non plus de solliciter des dons ou des services pour aider la cause. »

Debra a conservé les leçons apprises de son père toute sa vie, devenant bénévole pour les téléthons et s’impliquant auprès d’autres organismes caritatifs et programmes de mentorat après avoir quitté Kingston. Lorsqu’en 2000, Debra et son mari, Lawrence, eurent leurs jumeaux, Alex et Kate, elle ne se doutait pas que l’Association canadienne de la dystrophie musculaire allait à nouveau jouer un rôle dans sa vie.

.facebook_291828501En 2003, Alex recevait un diagnostic de dystrophie musculaire de Duchenne. Deux mois plus tard, Debra devenait bénévole à la section locale d’Ottawa. « Après le diagnostic d’Alex, je savais deux choses : j’avais besoin d’information et j’avais besoin de faire quelque chose pour aider la cause. En partie, c’était une façon pour moi de réseauter et d’avoir de l’information, mais je savais aussi que j’avais besoin de m’impliquer dans la lutte aux maladies neuromusculaires et d’aider d’autres personnes. Il fallait que ce qui arrivait à ma famille ait un sens plus large. »

À mesure qu’elle s’impliquait davantage dans les activités de la section locale, Debra réalisait qu’il y avait au sein de l’organisme de nombreuses fonctions de responsabilité pour des bénévoles. « J’étais très intéressée par le Comité consultatif scientifique et médical, alors c’est là que j’ai commencé. Et puis on m’a demandé de devenir représentante des sections locales de l’Ontario, puis représentante nationale. Je ne suis pas certaine que j’aurais moi-même osé proposer ma candidature au conseil, parce que je ne me sentais pas particulièrement qualifiée, mais à présent que je siège au conseil, j’aime beaucoup contribuer à réaliser chaque jour notre mission et notre vision. Je me considère aussi privilégiée de travailler avec mes collègues du conseil d’administration, un groupe de personnes extraordinairement engagées. »

À titre de représentante nationale des sections locales, Debra préside le Comité consultatif des relations avec les sections locales et fait rapport des activités de celui-ci au conseil. Elle fait aussi partie du comité exécutif où elle représente les bénévoles et les sections locales et est membre du Comité consultatif scientifique et médical. « Dans tous ces rôles, je participe à des rencontres et des conférences et soutient les bénévoles et le succès de l’organisation de toutes les façons possibles. Je participe aussi aux conférences internationales et nationales à titre de représentante bénévole de Dystrophie musculaire Canada. Au cours des deux dernières années, j’ai participé aux réunions et conférences sur la défense des droits et l’action sociale d’une organisation canadienne pour les maladies rares, à une rencontre nationale d’endocrinologie pédiatrique, à une rencontre de chercheurs du domaine des maladies neuromusculaires, et à la conférence annuelle du PPMD (Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, États-Unis.) »

Que pense Alex de la relation de longue date de sa famille avec Dystrophie musculaire Canada?

IMG1830« Je crois qu’il est réconfortant pour Alex que cela fasse partie de notre famille depuis si longtemps. Mon père est décédé lorsqu’Alex avait un an, c’est-à-dire un an et demi avant qu’il ne reçoive son diagnostic. Je dis souvent que si mon père était encore vivant, il serait l’un des plus grands champions d’Alex et un bénévole chevronné de DMC. Je crois qu’il est aussi réconfortant pour Alex de savoir que l’organisation est derrière lui et qu’elle l’appuie. Plus jeune, il était toujours prêt à participer aux campagnes de sensibilisation et aux événements média. À présent qu’il est plus vieux, il est un peu plus gêné de se montrer en public. »

« Kate, la sœur jumelle d’Alex, est devenue une bénévole accomplie et recueille des fonds pour DMC. C’est elle qui dirige chaque année notre équipe de parents et d’amis pour la Dystromarche et c’est sur le mur de sa chambre qu’est affichée notre plaque de « Meilleure équipe ». Elle adore être bénévole et voir les changements concrets que son implication apporte à la vie des personnes qui ont une maladie neuromusculaire. Je crois qu’elle aime aussi savoir qu’elle suit dans les pas de son grand-père. »

Team Junior is gearing up for another exciting year at Walk for Muscular Dystrophy!

My name is Melissa Basil and this will be my 5th time participating in the annual WaterlooBasil Family Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy! My family and I are very excited to be participating once again this year because this Walk is a great way to raise awareness of neuromuscular disorders such as MD. It is also a great way to meet other families who may be experiencing the same triumphs and challenges as we do; families who understand our story.  Originally, I decided to participate in this annual Walk because I thought it would be a great way to support my younger brother, Junior, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 5. Now, Junior is 19 years old and I feel it is important to continue to show him my support, hence I come out every year. Not only have I been participating in this Walk, but my family as well as my extended family and friends have continued to participate and show support for this cause. Each year our team (team Junior) has gotten bigger and bigger! We feel that it is important to participate and fundraise because not only are we raising awareness and making connections with others in our community, but we are also raising funds that will aid families who need equipment as well as research for a cure which is something we have longed for, for many years.

The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is not only a Walk to raise awareness and fundraise, but it is also a fantastic way to build and strengthen the community! It’s always a great feeling meeting a family who is experiencing the same challenges as mine and knowing that we are not alone in this fight against MD.  It is lovely to see families connecting at these Walk events, forming life-long friendships.

My participation in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy has made me feel great in the fact that I know I have supported a great cause. I feel satisfied in knowing that I am helping other families like mine receive the assistance they need. It also makes me feel more hopeful that a cure may just be around the corner! Please join my family and I as we participate in the 2014 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy!

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Melissa Basil has been participating in the Waterloo Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy since its inception. She walks with her team of family and friends in support of her younger brother, Junior. Melissa joined the volunteer planning committee last year and enjoys being a part of this community event.