National Volunteer Week 2020

Muscular Dystrophy Canada is a volunteer-driven organization. We rely on dedicated, enthusiastic, diverse and dynamic people to help us meet our mission – from clients to family members, community supporters to like-minded organizations, and healthcare professionals to Fire Fighters and beyond.

All of our volunteers are key partners in the delivery of MDC’s support programs, services, fundraising efforts, and governance. We want to thank ALL of our wonderful volunteers for everything they do, and for believing in our mission.

For National Volunteer Week (April 19–25), we highlighted a few of our extraordinary volunteers. Read their profiles below:

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You can break down barriers for Canadians living with a neuromuscular disorder

Thanks to you, our committed, generous donors, 2019 was an incredible year. Because of you, Muscular Dystrophy Canada supported clients through 13,458 calls and interactions, funded $1.1 million in research, and supplied 1,192 pieces of vital equipment for clients.

Help us start the new year off right. Canadians, like Stefanie, need your support.

But we still have so much more to do to break down barriers for Canadians impacted by neuromuscular disorders—and we can’t do it without your continued support.

Canadians are still facing barriers when it comes to being diagnosed early and properly, accessing treatments and at an affordable price, and knowing how to use our healthcare system to get the help they need.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) client, Stefanie Marinich-Lee, who amazed me with her tenacity and openness to talking about the struggles Canadians living with a neuromuscular disorder are facing every day.

Stefanie was diagnosed with Type 3 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) when she was 17 months old. As a child, she remembers struggling to walk. How after each fall it was even harder to get back up. Despite the obstacles she faced, she never gave up. Stefanie told me, “My parents always said I could do anything—that my disability did not define me.”

So, at 19 years old, Stefanie left home to study at the University of Waterloo and chased her dreams of becoming a lawyer. As her career took off, and her disorder progressed, she started losing abilities. Simple everyday tasks, that most of us take for granted, became more and more difficult for her. Some were impossible. It shattered her to pieces when she had to step away from her dream career. She felt isolated and battled depression.

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The DeVries Family

I always dreamed of having a big family. What I never imagined was the heartbreak and stress that comes from having children with serious health disorders.

Families like the DeVries need your support this holiday season.

I have six children, all boys, and three have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Thankfully, we found Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Because of donors, like you, MDC is able to provide support to Canadian families, like mine, who are living with the challenging realities of a neuromuscular disorder.

Of course, each and every family impacted is different, but we all could use a little holiday magic this year. Will you help make someone’s wish come true by giving a special gift this holiday season to help families in need?

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Brayden’s Journey

I met Brayden Graft when he was just five-days-old. Little did I know then the impact he would have on my life.

Individuals, like Brayden Graft, diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy need your support to live rich, full lives.

My friends Leanne and Tony had been fostering children for about five years and already had a baby at home when their social worker called about Brayden. They didn’t even think twice about taking him home.

You probably have friends just like Leanne and Tony. Humble, hardworking people with a ton of love to give. Leanne has always had a soft-spot for children, with four of her own, but as her kids grew up and left home she knew she and Tony had more love to give.

Eighteen-months-later they were offered the chance to adopt Brayden and once again they didn’t hesitate.

They couldn’t imagine life without him. He had become their precious, fun-loving son.

Just a couple of months later, Brayden was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

This month, my team members and I celebrated International Fire Fighter Day, and in honour of that, I hope you will read Brayden’s story and consider making a donation to Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC).


Rachel Andrews Story

It’s been a little over a year since I sat in a Neurologists office, with my husband by my side, and heard the words “I believe you have Facialscapulohumeral Dystrophy (FSHD)”.

My first response was, “say what?” It’s a mouthful for sure, but I’m fortunate my failing facial muscles are still able to say it.

Hello, my name is Rachel and I wanted to share my story with you because Muscular Dystrophy has impacted my life since well before my diagnosis. And, I believe more research and education will ensure Canadians like me don’t continue suffering with undiagnosed symptoms.

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