Throughout his lifetime, David Urlin has worn many hats. He has worked as a farmer, a businessman, a hotel owner and a deputy mayor, and in his spare time he used to play football, baseball, hockey, and racquetball. Then in 2016, everything changed.

“David always did so much,” says his wife, Mag. “He cooked, he worked, he cared for the kids…now he isn’t able to do anything on his own.”

After a couple years of symptoms in his left fingers, David was diagnosed with ALS in April of 2016. For someone who had always had so many passions and hobbies, the progressive nature of the disease has been frustrating. Today, David relies on the support of his BiPAP machine to help him breathe and his wife, Mag, to help him communicate when he gets tired. Part of the reality of living with ALS is difficulty forming words or projecting voice, which can make speaking difficult.

Despite the daily challenges of living with ALS, David is grateful to have a strong family unit of support. Mag is a nurse and has experience caring for others, and their three daughters recently organized a paint night fundraiser in order to raise money for ALS Canada.

“It’s about getting out in the public,” David whispered in an interview with ALS Canada, carefully enunciating each word in order to be understood. “Most people don’t know what ALS is. It’s a crippling disease.”

Shortly after his diagnosis, David and Mag received a hospital bed from the ALS Canada Equipment Loan Program.

“We really wanted to keep Dave at home,” stresses Mag, “and we could not have done it without that hospital bed.”

In many ways, Mag says this piece of equipment has done more than just give David a place to rest – it has helped keep a family together for as long as possible.

David will be cutting the ribbon at his local WALK for ALS this Saturday. The family got involved in the WALK for the first time after David’s diagnosis last year, but he himself was unable to walk due to his mobility limitations. This year, David will be attending the WALK in his wheelchair, surrounded by his wife, three daughters, four grandchildren and close friends.

“I want people to be aware of how important ALS Canada is to the people who need them most,” Mag emphasizes. “Our Regional Manager does her utmost to get us anything we need. It’s important to us that everyone who can, donates to the cause and comes to the WALK for ALS. The more people are aware of this horrible disease, the better.”

To learn more about your local WALK for ALS, please visit Donations for all WALK for ALS events are being accepted until December 31, 2017.

Posted in: Events