Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Society of Alberta
Our Story Why We Exist
The following story shares how the ALS Society of Alberta helps to "make it possible" for those living with and affected by ALS...
Gerald Anderson’s granddaughter, Amanda, played a very special role in his life. Amanda’s wedding day was nearing and she wanted nothing more than to have her papa (as she called him), walk her down the aisle on her special day. As Gerald’s ALS diagnosis progressed, the wedding was set to take place at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where he was being cared for. Amanda’s wedding day dream became a reality when Gerald was able to guide her down the aisle, thanks to help and support of the ALS Society of Alberta.
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
ALS is a rapid, always fatal, neurodegenerative disease. It attacks the nerves that the body would normally use to send messages from the brain to the muscle, resulting in weakness and wasting. Eventually, the individual with ALS is left completely immobilized, with loss of speech and eventually an inability to swallow and breathe. The sensory neurons in people living with ALS continue to function normally so that they will continue to feel the sensations of heat, cold, discomfort, etc. The mind often remains completely alert and lucid. The result is often a lively, unimpaired mind trapped in an immobilized body. The average life expectancy from symptom onset is three to five years; the real challenge in the medical community at large is correctly diagnosing ALS in the early stages, so that the ALS Society of Alberta is able to provide the maximum level of assistance to the person living with ALS and that person's family.
Approximately 3,000 Canadians live with ALS and two to three Canadians die every day of ALS. There is no known cause or cure for this devastating disease.
Our Impact What We Do
The ALS Society of Alberta is dedicated to making each day the best possible day for people living with and affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The number one priority for the ALS Society of Alberta is to ensure that each ALS client's needs are being met. The Society relies heavily on its donors and volunteers in order to provide the best possible support and care for ALS clients in Alberta. From community events and ALS WALK fundraisers across the province, to providing care and eqiuptment for those living with and affected by ALS, the accomplishments of the ALS Society of Alberta are due to the tremendous amounts of support received throughout the community.
100% of ALS client requests were met in 2015 thanks to donor and volunteer support, including;
- 361 clients supported in Alberta
- 1,644 pieces of equipment were provided
- 95 support groups held for clients, caregivers, families and children across the province
- 47 families supported through the Support for Champions Program
- 1,780 home visits were conducted
The ALS Society of Alberta graciously appreciates ongoing donor and volunteer support in order to continue meeting 100% of client requests and to make each day the best possible day for those living with and affected by ALS.
Our Programs How We Do It
The ALS Society of Alberta provides support to clients and families across the province in a number of ways including:
- Facilitation and Provision of Care
- Information and Referrals
- Support Groups
From home visits, to making medical equipment easily accessible to clients to the organization of support groups across the province, the client services team goes above and beyond to make sure that those living with and affected by ALS are living as comfortably and happily possible. The client services team strives to meet every client support and equipment request made.
The equipment loan program is free of charge, to ensure support is available when needed. The Society covers the costs of delivery and pickup, and once the person no longer requires the equipment, it is cleaned and returned to the loan pool.
The ALS Society of Alberta offers various support groups and information sessions to help people living with ALS, their families and caregivers. All support groups and information sessions are provided free of charge.
The Support for Champions program allows children whose parents are affected by ALS to participate in "normal" childhood activities that may not be available to them due to the immense financial burden ALS can cause.
To view the services provided through the ALS Society of Alberta’s client services team in more detail, please visit http://www.alsab.ca/client-support-services/.
Our Requests What You Can Do
From volunteering at or hosting your own ALS community fundraiser, to becoming a monthly donor, to attending a WALK for ALS, every inch of support received helps to make each day the best possible day for those living with and affected by ALS.
Below are some of the ways that you can help to make a difference and channel hope for a future without ALS;
There are many volunteer opportunities within the Society. Opportunities range from special events or awareness generating initiatives, to helping in the office with administrative duties.
Your monthly gift allows us to provide the best possible support for those living with ALS in Alberta, through the equipment loan program, support groups, home visits, referrals and support for children.
WALK for ALS and Betty's Run for ALS
Volunteers across Alberta help the ALS Society of Alberta in hosting WALKs in 12 cities across the province. Attending, fundraising for or volunteering at a WALK for ALS across Alberta, or Betty's Run for ALS in Calgary, is a significant way you are able to get involved and help to make an impact on the ALS community. Over $1,007,000 was raised through WALKs for ALS and Betty's Run in 2015. Below is a breakdown of how these funds are used by the Society;
- 40% RESEARCH - Forty percent of proceeds support ongoing ALS research across the country through the ALS Society of Canada’s National Research Program.
- 60% CLIENT SERVICES - Sixty percent of proceeds support direct services for people with ALS and their families - educational information, referrals to local health care and community services, equipment assistance, home visits, and coordination of peer support groups.
Each year, groups, teams and individuals across the province initiate fundraising events to raise funds that go toward the Society. There were over 25 community events held across Alberta in 2015.