WALK for ALS raises $28,000

Shawna O'Neill, Special to TC Media
WALK for ALS raises $28,000
Dave Merpaw

CORNWALL, Ontario – A huge crowd of supporters walked behind Mark Vivarais, this year’s Walk for ALS ambassador, on Saturday, June 2. The walk commenced at 10:30 a.m. at St. Lawrence College and raised $28,000.  

“Mark has really shown a positive outlook of all of this,” said Sandra Vivarais, Mark’s wife, in a speech to all of the supporters. “He is taking in everything he can, and living every way he can with our children, our grandchildren, my family, his family, and our extended friends.”

Mark Vivarais, 61, was diagnosed with ALS in December 2017. He was inspired to take on an advocating role for the disease after meeting the husband of a 29-year-old Ottawa woman who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

“So far Mark has gone through three types of walkers [and] he’s on his second wheelchair,” said Sandra. “We have equipment at home and we have not had to put any money out because of you people here today, supporting this cause. It really helps to relieve the patients and the family financially.”

This year there was a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and complimentary snacks and beverages. A few sponsors included St-Albert Cheese, Dairy Queen, BASF Canada Inc Cornwall Works, the Law Office of Christopher M Giggey and Medical Arts Pharmacy.

“We’re growing every year,” said Lianne Johnston, the Champlain Regional Manager of the ALS Society of Canada. Melanie Brisson, one of the ALS Walk Coordinators, thought this year’s turnout could be the largest she’s ever seen. Brisson and her best friend Melissa Ferguson have been coordinating the Cornwall ALS Walk together for six years. Ferguson has lost five family members to the disease.

The Vivarais family, or the ‘T-Rex Clan’, raised over $10,000 of the donations.

“I met Mark when he was about 11 or 12,” said Rick Frechette, Mark’s brother-in-law. “So he’s just like a brother to me.”

Donations can still be sent in until the end of the year, either through www.walkforals.ca/cornwall or by sending a check into the ALS Canada Toronto office, marking the letter for the Cornwall Walk. The address is 393 University Avenue, Suite 1701, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1E6.

Share this article