Ice bucket challenge fills local ALS patient with hope

CORNWALL, Ontario – A local man recently diagnosed with a debilitating disease that effects every part of his body has been heartened by the fact that millions of people around the world now know what he grapples with daily.

Brian Tardiff, who was diagnosed late last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), said the landslide of public support for the Ice Bucket Challenge that has taken the social media world by storm is giving him a sense of hope.

“I can spend hours a day watching new versions of people doing it every day,” said Tardiff. “Awareness has really gone up.

“It’s snowballing to the point everybody now knows what ALS is, or has taken the time and effort to find out what it is.”

No kidding.

Earlier this week members of the local media got together to complete the challenge and make personal donations to the ALS Society, as well as municipal officials and thousands of others in the Cornwall area.

“We’re going to keep the momentum going,” Mayor Bob Kilger said recently, when he teamed up with Coun. David Murphy, Thom Racine and Rod McLeod to take part in the challenge.

ALS Canada has seen donations of more than $5.6 million since July 29, with millions more expected to pour in.

There is no cure for ALS, which is fatal, with patients becoming progressively paralyzed, eventually unable to breathe or swallow. Most pass away in as little as five years.

Tardiff said his arms are “between 80 and 90 per cent” paralyzed, and his voice has become strained with effort.

On the flipside, he said his legs have been relatively free of the disease and he has taken it upon himself to walk as much as he can every day.

“I’m not somebody who waits around for the other shoe to drop,” he said. “I walk three miles a day.”

Tardiff added the tough part about ALS is that it operates with no guidelines.

“It’s going to its own pace, not to my pace,” he said. “As one lady said to me, once you get ALS it’s a 24-hour thing. It’s always on your mind.”

To make a donation, or to find out more about the ice bucket challenge, click here.

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