The foundational pillars of our organization are built on the entire premise of cultivating and nurturing the human spirit through authentic connections at the community level. Our volunteers are the ALS Canada face for many families and friends living with ALS and it is because of their huge hearts and tenacious determination they continue to surpass national fundraising goals for ALS Canada events. In recognition of National Volunteer Week, taking place April 6-12, we salute our volunteers and thank them for their efforts and commitment to clients and to ALS Canada.
It is also because of the leadership of the volunteers we will see the launch of our largest national fundraiser- WALK for ALS on April 19th in Cobourg, Ontario. The WALKs are a true reflection of collective communities coming together in 30 locations across Ontario to show their support for clients and raising an astounding $1.7 million dollars in Ontario alone. This is the year we will move forward with hope, cumulatively with 90 national WALKs, fundraising up to $4 million dollars.
In May, we will join hands and pull on one rope attached to a 37,000 lb Bombardier plane in solidarity and strength of will on behalf of the ALS Community. The annual Bombardier Plane Pull event is a collaborative team effort where groups of 10 teammates work together in the aim to raise awareness and funds to support clients and families living with ALS.
This year also marks our first year working within a Federated Model. The Federation Council agreement was signed last year by both volunteers and senior professional staff from the 10 ALS Societies across Canada, including ALS Canada. From that point forward the Council was running full steam ahead with the hiring of a Director to support the programs, the development of a plan of action, and several committees all working on projects that we believe will have a strong impact on our ALS communities across the country. Working mostly virtually and across time zones with a new and passionate team is a huge endeavour, and I congratulate both the volunteer leadership and participants in this national group as they have risen to the challenge. The glue for the Federation Council is clear: Do whatever we can to help the people and their families who have been or will be affected by ALS.
The values of the Federation Council are shared across the organization. Our team at the head office in Toronto are in full planning mode preparing for ALS Canada’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). At the AGM, national representation amongst researchers, clients, leadership, provincial affiliates come together to meet and strategize on how to mobilize change to continue to build momentum in efforts to help clients. At this meeting senior ALS researchers (basic and clinical) accompanied by junior investigators will present ground breaking ALS research and form collaborations. We will be unveiling a new grant – the cornerstone of our Research Program, conduct clinical trial training and start the conversations around clinical practice guidelines.
As a community sharing in the vision to find a treatment for ALS, we are a strong unified unit. And we will continue to strive to push forward as a whole team.
Together, the power lies in collective action.
Chief Executive Officer