Show your stuff at the Toronto Walk for Muscular Dystrophy!

Talent ShowAt this year’s Toronto, Ontario event, we will be hosting a local talent show.

If you have a talent, we want you to share it! Whether it’s wiggling your nose or singing a song, show off your moves and get into the spirit of fun at the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy!

You can be an individual or participate as part of a group, the ideas are endless. There is no minimum time requirement, but a maximum of 2-3 minutes per performance.

Spots are limited! The first six acts to sign up will be a part of the show. To share you talent, please e-mail You will receive a confirmation telling you if you are one of the first six.

We look forward to seeing the show!


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.


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 or 1-866-687-2538 ext 131.

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

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!


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.

Family takes pride in being role models

Shabotovsky Family

The Shabatoski Family

Team Shabby has participated in the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy for six years. The Shabatoski family is at the centre of Team Shabby, including mom Jackie, dad Dean, Braiden, 21; twins Samuel and Emma, 10; and twins Tyson and Jackson, 7. Braiden, Samuel and Tyson are affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

In 2013, Braiden was the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Ambassador.  This was an honour for the family and a great way to include all the family’s friends in their Walk for Muscular Dystrophy efforts. Braiden takes his responsibility as role model seriously, especially as a role model to his two younger brothers. Braiden loves hanging out with Samuel and Tyson, encouraging them to keep their spirits up and enjoy life. He is around to answer their questions and help them through any struggles they may have. Braiden is dedicated to being available to his brothers, and raising awareness through the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy.

Team Shabby participates in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy because it is important to them to raise money to eventually find a cure for neuromuscular disorders. They also put great emphasis on raising awareness. Jackie Shabatoski explains “before Braiden was diagnosed, we had no idea what muscular dystrophy was. We just want our sons to be treated respectfully, and that only happens when there is a level of understanding and empathy.”

The Shabatoski family is supported by their extended family every step of the way. Dean has four siblings and Jackie has three.  The whole family shows up to each Saskatoon Walk for Muscular Dystrophy event. Family friends came out in larger numbers this year to support Braiden. Team Shabby grew to about 50 members this year.

team shabbyPart of the team’s plan is to fundraise leading up to the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy event.  In April, Team Shabby hosted a rib night fundraiser. The supper included a silent auction, raffle items and 50/50 draw. Over 120 community members, friends and family came out to support the event.   A comedian friend emceed the fundraiser and performed improv. All the auction items were donated by the community. One woman donated a hand stitched quilt with a history of Clavet/Saskatoon depicted. Ottawa Senator Jared Cowen, who is from Allan, SK donated a jersey. There were footballs signed by Saskatchewan Rough Riders including Mike McCullough, were also auctioned. The rib night raised $6,800, and Jackie’s mother fundraised $2,000 at a other fundraising  in Humboldt, SK.

The family’s favorite part of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is meeting new people and getting together with friends and family. After the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, the Shabatoski’s invite the team back to their house for a barbeque and social.

Jackie says, “we get to enjoy being surrounded by those who mean the most to us. I love to look around at everyone visiting and enjoying each other’s company. It makes me count my blessings to have such a strong support system!”

BC Fire Fighters in full gear to raise awareness

fire fighter finishThe Nanaimo Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy started out simple. Dwain King, my co-chair from the Central Island region of the BC/Yukon Fire Fighters Advisors group decided that since Victoria was the only current Walk for Muscular Dsytrophy event on Vancouver Island he would organize one a little farther north. We immediately jumped on board to support Dwain. I somewhat mistakenly sent out an email to my entire address book (over 500 recipients) and was overwhelmed with the immediate support I received in the form of donations to complete the 5 KM walk.

3 km FFI figured I had better raise the bar since I was nearing $1,000, so I announced if I fundraised $1,000 I would complete the Walk for Muscular Dsytrophy in full turn out gear, which is Fire Fighters protective clothing consisting of coat, pants, boots and helmet, adding a weight of approx. 25 pounds.

Well I surpassed the $1,000 mark so figured I had better step it up a notch! If I could reach $1,500 I offered to wear the SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) on my back, which accounts for an additional 32 pounds. Walk coordinator Dwain King from Ladysmith Fire Rescue took it one step further saying that if he raised $2,000 he would complete the Walk “on air”, which means he would walk the entire 5KM wearing the Fire Fighter mask and breathing only the air from his self contained breathing apparatus carried on his back.

Fire fighters 3KMMy sister, Cathy Ferguson King (no relation to Dwain) who is a true competitor and a true advocate for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, stepped in and said if she raised more than Dwain and I, she would ALSO complete the Walk in full turn out gear with an SCBA and ON AIR! The difference being Cathy is NOT a Fire Fighter! She does not normally wear this gear and has never used a self contained breathing apparatus.

Well she did it!! She raised more funds than Dwain and I, and the end result is that all three of us completed the entire 5KM Walk in full gear and on air.

The on air portion of the challenge was to set a level of difficulty that isn’t done by the average person and to say that we were willing to push ourselves to new limits in order to raise awareness and funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada!

P1040666Point being the ever increasing dependency on respiratory assistance for those affected by neuromuscular disorders. We challenged ourselves to complete a physically demanding event while relying on only supplied air; however those with repiratory challenges rely on such systems on a regular basis. It is an opportunity for us, and others, to realize what they  go through on a day to day basis and realize that we take for granted the simple things in life. We challenged ourselves for two hours; our friends affected by muscular dystrophy do this daily!

The Nanaimo Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy was not only a success in fundraising, but a success in awareness and self reflection. I had no right to say this was going to be difficult or too much of a challenge to complete because we were fortunate enough to be able to walk and breathe for those who can’t on their own.

Team Party Hardy total raised – $8,500!

Cam Ferguson  is the Deputy Fire Chief, Cowichan Bay Fire Rescue; Chair – BC/Yukon Firefighter Advisory Committee; and Firefighter Co-Advisor, Central Vancouver Island.