Feel Good Friday Client Spotlight: Willms Family

For this week’s #ClientSpotlight, we are excited to feature the Willms family! During COVID-19, parents Josh and Alisha have been keeping busy by creating a more accessible bathroom for their son Emmett to use and grow into. They built a roll-in shower, and an accessible sink to give Emmett more independence and safety in the bathroom.

Their main focus is for Emmett to be independent, and to do the things he wants and needs to do without limitations. MDC was happy to provide them the support they needed to make this all possible.

This time still remains uncertain for many Canadians and families impacted by neuromuscular disorders. If you require support, learn about our programs and services, or contact a Service Specialist in your area. We are happy to provide guidance and support.

The Willms family is also spending lots of time outside to enjoy the spring weather. They have been going on lots of walks together and even planted a garden. On rainy days, Emmett has been using his imagination to turn the dining room table into a pirate ship. He uses his stuffed animals as his pirate crew and the whole family searches the house for treasures together.

Thank you for sharing with us, Willms family! We love hearing your stories about how you are keeping busy and how you are using your imagination to have fun!

Our Systems Navigation program is designed to support clients in all areas of their non-medical needs including: funding equipment to improve daily life, providing emotional and educational support, and ensuring access to vital resources and support systems.

We understand that clients want to live life on their own terms. Our program provides them with the right resources to build confidence, and to fulfill their dreams, while ensuring they have increased independence.

Learn more about our programs and services.

Feel Good Friday Client Spotlight: Ken M. Kramer

For this week’s #ClientSpotlight, we are proud to feature Ken M. Kramer, QC. Ken is the Principal & Senior Associate Counsel for KMK Law, and was also the first person with a neuromuscular disorder to lead Muscular Dystrophy Canada as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Ken is an advocate for accessibility and inclusion both in the province of British Columbia and nationwide through various initiatives.

Ken has, and continues to work closely with the media, lawyers across the country, disability groups in British Columbia, senior members with the Ministry of Health, and with the government. A big part of his work is focused on advocacy and helping to develop important policies associated with healthcare and individuals living with disabilities.

“Advocating for people with disabilities is not just something I do as a part of my career—but because I believe in advocacy and promoting inclusion,” says Ken. “I am a strong advocate for myself, and there are others like me. But some don’t have the ability to speak up, so a lot of the things I do are for them.”

Are you interested in advocating in your own community but you’re not sure where to start? Ken shares some advice on how to get started:

“It has to be something that you genuinely believe in,” says Ken “Something you can articulate your thoughts around. It doesn’t need to be sitting with ministers or premiers, but it can result in other methods, like getting associated with an organization that shares your vision or meeting with your MLA—or even writing an opinion piece for your local paper. Everything has an impact.”

Another piece of advice that Ken suggests is to think strategically. “Try not to complain when you provide an issue,” says Ken. “But also come up with a solution. Come up with different options. Find a solution that also has an economic advantage.”

Thank you, Ken, for continuing to use your voice to promote accessibility and inclusion. We can’t wait to see what you will do next to help support individuals living with disabilities.

At MDC, advocacy plays an incredibly important role in delivering our mission. Learn more about the advocacy work that MDC currently supports, and how you can get involved.

COVID – 19: What you should know about this novel coronavirus

Given the recent updates on COVID-19, Muscular Dystrophy Canada has implemented a work from home policy, therefore, effective immediately all MDC offices are closed.

Our staff remain available via email and telephone and will continue to serve our clients, volunteers, donors and other key stakeholders.

During this difficult time, we remind everyone that social distancing is a critical component of reducing the potential harm.

In the coming days, MDC will continue to provide updates as we strive to implement new online platforms and solutions to support our community.

We recommend that everyone continue to be informed by credible sources like the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial health agencies.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Barbara Stead-Coyle
CEO

COVID-19, is a coronavirus, that is known to cause respiratory infections in individuals who contract the virus. Symptoms include dry cough, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. Since people with neuromuscular disorders already experience respiratory challenges, it is understandable that you would have concerns and questions about COVID-19.

How to prevent infections

The steps outlined below are good practice, at all times, to inhibit the spread of viruses:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve; when using tissues, immediately put them in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Regularly clean commonly used surfaces and devices you touch.
  • Avoid crowded spaces and close contact with anyone that has a fever or cough.

How you can prepare

You should always have a plan in place should you, or a loved one, become ill. You should have:
  • A list containing the names of your doctors, clinic, pharmacy and insurance company along with contact information.
  • A list of all your medications and the doses.
  • Enough medication for one to two weeks in case you cannot get to the pharmacy to refill your prescriptions.
  • Extra supplies like, hand sanitizers and soap to wash your hands.
For more information please visit the Government of Canada’s website.

How to avoid disruptions to care services for individuals with neuromuscular disorders

  • Screen: Have a sign posted at the entrance of your home for your caregivers and attendants to self-screen and review the precautionary measures they can take while in your home.
  • Greetings: Have your caregivers and attendants say hello without touching (e.g., a wave hello)
  • Wash Hands: Have your caregivers and attendants wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap carefully and repeatedly (throughout the day).
  • Sanitize: Have your caregivers and attendants use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol-based) when they arrive at your home and each time prior to touching or feeding you.
  • Disinfect: Have your caregivers and attendants clean, sanitize and disinfect the surfaces that are touched in your and use disinfecting wipes on items that are frequently touched (e.g., cell phones, doorknobs, your wheelchair controls, lifting device controls, and remote controls). Make this convenient by having wipes near the items that should be regularly cleaned.
  • Back Up: If your attendant becomes sick, ask them to seek medical care. Ensure you have sufficient back up attendants in case your caregivers and regular attendants cannot work; your attendants may not be able to work because either they get sick or they need to take care of a family member who is. You will still need assistance, so make sure you have someone who can provide it.

What to do if you think you might have the infection

Key topics in Spinal Muscular Atrophy research discussed at first ever Muscular Dystrophy Canada SMA Research Summit

Toronto, November 15, 2019 – Research experts, the medical community, and industry stakeholders came together in Toronto this week at the inaugural Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) SMA Research Summit to discuss new research and development.

“This summit was an important opportunity for us to review the latest developments and discuss where there are opportunities to enhance our role in the neuromuscular community in order to provide the proper support for individuals and families impacted by SMA,” said Barbara Stead-Coyle, CEO, Muscular Dystrophy Canada. “We thank our generous sponsors Biogen, Novartis, and Roche for providing us with the opportunity to have these important conversations, as well as our organizing committee—co-chairs Dr. Rashmi Kothary and Dr. Maryam Oskoui, as well as Dr. Craig Campbell and Dr. Lawrence Korngut.”

Key topics under discussion included new research, clinical trial developments, and the changing treatment and regulatory landscape in Canada.

“As part of MDC’s ongoing commitment to influence positive change, we convened leading medical and scientific experts to share and collaborate in ways that will foster medical advances and impact the lives of the individuals and families that we serve. We are excited to continue the momentum and are planning MDC’s first nationwide Neuromuscular Impact Conference, which will be held next year so our clients have an opportunity to hear and speak to the scientific and medical community,” said Daria Wojtal, Director of Research, Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Spinal muscular atrophy is a severe, inherited, progressive neuromuscular disease that causes major problems with walking, muscle strength, fine motor skills, and the basic physical functions of breathing, swallowing, and feeding. Until recently, there were limited treatment options for SMA, but prognosis has been transformed with the recent availability of a number of effective disease-modifying therapies, notably nusinersen, known as Spinraza. Great advances have been made and there is a pipeline of clinical trials that are transforming what it means to be diagnosed with this rare neuromuscular disease. 

ABOUT MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY CANADA

Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission is to enhance the lives of those impacted with neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources while relentlessly searching for a cure through well-funded research. To learn more about Muscular Dystrophy Canada, please visit muscle.ca or call our toll-free number at 1-800-567-2873.

MEDIA CONTACT

Heather Rice
Muscular Dystrophy Canada
Heather.Rice@muscle.ca