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Organization Spotlight: The ALS Society of BC’s Commitment to Helping Canadians with ALS Live Better

DP World Canada supports organizations doing meaningful work in our communities. One of them is The ALS Society of BC, which provides necessary medical equipment and more to those living with ALS in British Columbia. Here’s a little more about the organization.

Providing Necessary Medical Equipment

Dr. Andrew Eisen, who still sits on the board, founded the ALS Society of BC in 1981 to help area ALS patients, and particularly those without extended healthcare, to cover the cost of their required medical equipment. At the time, that cost could easily have added up to $140,000 over the course of the disease.

Today, this provincial non-profit continues to provide medical equipment like walkers, full power tilt wheelchairs, communication devices, and more to those with ALS who cannot afford them. The organization handles everything from purchasing, maintaining, and repairing to transporting and sanitizing the equipment it provides, saving its clients from stress as well as expense.

Making Appointments Accessible

But the ALS Society of BC doesn’t limit its help to equipment only. Over time, it has expanded its services.

Recognizing that people with ALS living outside the Vancouver area were unable to make it to follow-up appointments at the ALS Centre located at GF Strong Rehab Centre in Vancouver, the ALS Society of BC sought a solution. They initiated a transportation progamme by partnering with Hope Air, an organization dedicated to providing free medical transportation to Canadians in need.

Patients are brought to the ALS clinic with their caregiver, where they are housed overnight before travelling home, with all expenses covered. For patients whose breathing complications don’t allow them to fly, the ALS Society of BC coordinates small mobile clinics throughout the province.

Helping Young Ones Understand ALS

The ALS Society of BC also helps the children and grandchildren of those with ALS. Since it’s a degenerative disease, there often comes a time when a parent or grandparent can no longer participate in activities with family. Children can view these changes in routine as sudden or without reason and act out. It’s a part of the disease that many children struggle to handle on their own.

So, the ALS Society of BC hosts a kids’ camp called Camp Alohi Lani (Hawaiian for “bright skies”) to help them cope. This four-day camp is open to kids ages eight to seventeen and is hosted at Camp Jubilee, where activities include kayaking, canoes, and rock climbing, among others. It gives children an opportunity to take a break and simply enjoy being a kid while bonding with other kids who have a loved one with ALS.

Fundraising for the Cause

The ALS Society of BC raises funds for medical equipment and programmes through two main events: The Walk to End ALS and the PGA BC Golfathon for ALS.

The PGA BC Golfathon for ALS has been a partner with the non-profit for 16 years and has helped the ALS Society of BC raise over $2.2 million. The Walk to End ALS is an annual fundraiser held Canada-wide where people sign up to walk solo or in teams to raise money.

How Businesses Can Support the ALS Society of BC

While fundraisers are open to anyone, businesses can take their own unique approach to supporting the ALS Society of BC. For example, a local winery creates a special wine, with a portion of its proceeds going to the Society. There is also a grilled cheese shop that donates all proceeds on National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day to the ALS Society of BC. In 2021, raising over $3,000 in one day.

Whether through proceeds, volunteering, or partnering in events, local businesses can support the ALS Society of BC in a variety of ways, all valued and all meaningful.

To learn more about the ALS Society of BC and all that they do, visit their website and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.