As the end of 2013 comes to a close, I proudly reflect on our organization and the high level of engagement I have seen this year by thousands of people touched by ALS across Canada. I am reminded daily that people are passionate about making a difference in client services and ALS research. Volunteers and donors are making outstanding contributions to raising funds to support our client service and research program. Following the completion of the merger between ALS Canada and the Ontario organization in May, we have emerged as a strong community, united by our mission to find a cure for ALS. Let`s recap some of our milestones since our last newsletter.
First, I would like to address this year’s Hill Day which took place in November, giving us, as an organization, an opportunity to press parliamentarians and other government officials in Ottawa for increased benefits to ALS caregivers. Hill Day was covered extensively by media and across our social media channels and it allowed our organization, including our board, to have a platform to address the dire need to change caregiver benefits from 6 weeks to 35 weeks.
Continuous improvements in Ontario Client Services continue to be a priority to ensure clients receive the equipment and services they need on a timely basis. Client services has been a major focus for us this year. In order to address the growing needs of our clients, we have expanded our support with regional managers that can service all communities in Ontario. Regional Mangers assist clients by facilitating care within the community and obtaining vital equipment for daily living.
Supporting research is and will continue to be a key mandate of ALS Canada, and I am excited to report on some of the promising scientific studies we are funding, bringing us closer to a cure, one study at a time. As well, in September, key stakeholders in the ALS research community came together to set a new direction for ALS Canada to fund translational research which forges basic and clinical research collaboration.
The WALK for ALS brought in another record-breaking year, generating over $1.535 million in Ontario and putting us within reach of our $1.6 million goal for the end of the year. Another new record was set for the Bombardier Plane Pull generating over $90,000! Adding to the event excitement this year was the launch of the Jim Hunter Cycle for a Cure which raised an amazing $230,000 in its first year.
Finally, as year-end approaches, we extend our sincere thanks to our supporters who make the work we do possible – because of you, our work has a true impact on the lives of those touched by ALS. ALS Canada is the sum of all of us -volunteers, donors and staff - together. Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and continued support!
I wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a great start into the New Year. Let`s make 2014 another milestone along our path toward finding a cure for ALS!
Chief Executive Officer