Moving forward with hope

Alycia Douglass
Moving forward with hope
From left

CORNWALL, Ontario – John McIntyre has been an advocate for ALS for a number of years after losing a dear friend to the disease.

After being diagnosed with ALS last November, McIntyre is this year’s face of the Cornwall Walk for ALS.


“I’m glad to be this year’s face of the ALS Walk, but it is bittersweet,” said McIntyre. Praising the ALS Society for their commitment to clients, McIntyre says that everyone he’s been involved with has been wonderful.

“From the ALS Clinic to the ALS loan cupboard – anytime I need something, somebody is there to make my day-to-day life easier,” said McIntyre.

Event coordinators, Melanie Brisson and Melissa Ferguson have been organizing the event for the past six years since Ferguson lost her brother to ALS in 2011.

“It runs in her family, so it means a lot for us to do it,” said Brisson. “Every year, it seems to be getting a little bigger.”

Ferguson says that prior to the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, many people were unfamiliar with the disease.

“People are starting to acknowledging it more now,” said Ferguson. “It feels good to help the people in need and bring out the awareness.”

The Walk for ALS began as a cross-Canada initiative in 2004 and is currently the ALS Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Regional Manager of the ALS Society, Lianne Johnston says that this morning, online funds were already at $10,000, expecting to reach their year-end goal of $35,000.

“We are very reliant on the money that comes in from the walks,” said Johnston. “Sixty percent of funds raised goes to help the clients directly, which includes home visits, support groups, and most of the equipment they’re going to need as they go through the disease. The other 40 percent goes towards funding research projects.”

So far, McIntyre is still able to shower on his own with the help of a shower chair donated by the ALS Society.

“What I can’t do, my wife helps me with,” said McIntyre. “The support, the love, the friends, and neighbours has been pretty humbling.”

McIntyre also had one piece of advice for those struggling with the difficult diagnosis:

“Live each day as best you can while you can,” said McIntyre. “Accept the fact that you’re, ultimately not going to be able to do as much, and graciously accept the help that’s given to you.”

For more information about the ALS Society of Canada, or to donate, visit their website.




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