2016

June 21: Herbert Lindae #MakingItPossible

At the young age of five, creative, self-taught and left handed Herbert Lindae had a passion for art and painting. In Grade 7 math class, Herbert got in trouble for doodling in his math book instead of paying attention from the teacher. He started off with pencil crayons, water colors, acrylics, and then found himself thoroughly enjoying working with oils. Herbert claims that oils are his favorite because they are pliable and when you make mistakes, you can cover them. When Herbert sees a picture he likes, he is motivated to paint it himself, and when he starts, he says that it is difficult to stop. He knows the techniques of how to paint and says it is very challenging to stay steady when painting lines. Despite his love for painting and having success selling a few of his paintings over the past few years, he claims being an artist a “messy business”. Herbert is grateful for his gift of painting is #MakingItPossible to continue painting regardless of his diagnosis of ALS. 

June 20: John Orfino #MakingItPossible

“Hi, my name is John Orfino. I am 51 years old and my life changed dramatically in April of 2015. I was diagnosed with ALS and given three to five years left to live. Dang! That’s the kind of news that can ruin your day. ALS has taken away my ability to work and enjoy the activities I love. But, ALS has not taken away my will to live. Soon after I was diagnosed with ALS I was introduced to the ALS Society of Alberta. Wow, lucky me. They supply me with equipment and living aids that help me in day to day living, at no cost to me. I am absolutely honored to be the Ambassador for the Edmonton WALK for ALS on June 11, 2016.”

-John Orfino

June 17: Ken Knight #MakingItPossible

"Hello, my name is Ken Knight. It was a privilege to be asked to be the 2016 Camrose WALK for ALS Ambassador. I was diagnosed with ALS in January 2015; while this was a devastating event, I have been lucky to meet some wonderful and caring people over the past 17 months. The staff at the ALS Society of Alberta have been a great support for my family and I. They are a very special group of people who do everything they can to make clients' lives as easy as possible. While this disease is very debilitating, the equipment I have received from the Society has made it possible to live life as fully as possible."

-Ken Knight

June 16: Inga Kohut #MakingItPossible

Inga has humbly shared her passion and love for gardening, expressing that she just “loves all flowers”. She learned gardening from her mom in Poland at the young age of 10, which continued to be a lifelong passion of hers, gardening for over 65 years along with her husband Mel. Her passion for gardening and flowers is so profound that she went on to take 1st place in the Edmonton Sun Top Gardener’s Contest in 1999. From providing fresh vegetables to her family and friends, to coming home with a new plant or herb every time she takes a trip to the store, Inge has been the “go to neighbour” for questions about gardening for her entire life. When Inge was diagnosed with PLS, her husband Mel began #MakingItPossible to still enjoy their beautiful garden by setting up over 10 hand bars throughout the backyard. Aside from gardening, Inge also loves to build puzzles anywhere from 500 to 1000 pieces. Despite her diagnosis, Inga still enjoys every day to the fullest and still very much passionate about the hobbies and people in her life.

June 15: Jim Bell #MakingItPossible

After diagnosis with ALS in 2014, Jim lost his ability to do the physical things that he did before, but that did not change the person he was on the inside. During his life, Jim was always surrounded by so many people and everyone who met him loved him. He was always selfless, in the way he showed interest in how everyone else was doing and what was happening in their lives. Gardening was something Carol (Jim’s wife) and Jim enjoyed doing together. He had such admiration for the beauty in flowers and gardening. Jim was always smelling every rose he came upon. Many family vacations were taken to the Okanagan with his wife, children and grandchildren. His family remembers him as always the first one in the water and the one who stayed the longest. For Christmas, Carol had memory bears made out of special articles of Jim’s clothing for each of Jim’s children and grandchildren so everyone had their own special keepsake to keep close, when a loved one becomes a memory the memory becomes a treasure. 

June 14: Don Robertson #MakingItPossible

The story below is told from the voice of Don Robertson.

"My wife and I have been going to William Watson Lodge in Kananaskis for a number of years – as my condition progressed I could no longer walk the trails  (William Watson Lodge has many paved trails) and for a number of years I was confined to the cabins.

Thanks to the graciousness of the ALS Society of Alberta, in May of 2016, a bigger power chair was delivered to the lodge at the start of our stay there and picked up by the Society at the end of our stay. This allowed me to traverse pathways that I had not been on for a long time. We saw moose, mountain sheep and a grizzly bear. Many thanks to Jane Rivest of the ALS Society for delivering and picking up the chair for me.

The ALS Society has loaned us equipment and provided us with assistance and information regarding such things as the ALS Clinic in Calgary, income tax disability, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Because of the lift in our van (provided and owned by the ALS Society) we have been able to transport a smaller power chair (also provided by the ALS Society) to a number of parks in Calgary and in the Kananaskis area. This has provided me with day-to-day freedom."

 -Don Robertson

June 13: Rob Anderson #MakingItPossible

For the past 47 years, Rob Anderson has been passionate about and very much enjoys playing pool. At age 11, Rob began playing snooker and he immediately felt as though he had a natural gift. At age 13, Rob began playing in tournaments, where his talent won him $150 through a game of pool. With the big heart he has, he later tucked the winning cash his mother’s pillow to help pay for items needed around the house. He continued on to play in over 100 tournaments in Alberta, winning his first trophy in 1988 in Camrose, AB at the Windsor hotel, with many others to follow. Rob currently plays competitively in the Wal-Mac & Triple E Billards Leagues in Edmonton. Aside from playing pool competitively, he also enjoys playing pool with his friends and virtual pool, snooker and 8 ball pro on Facebook. Rob is thankful for the ALS Society of Alberta in #MakingItPossible for him to visit his mother, go to the mall and continue to play pool with the scooter they have provided him due to his diagnosis of Kennedy’s disease (an inherited motor neuron disease that affects males). 

June 10: Allen Vranckx #MakingItPossible

For the past 32 years, it has been tradition for Allen and his wife Linda to go on camping and fishing trips at Calling Lake with their very good friends Andy and Judy.  They've created many good memories over the years, through good times and bad. In fact, there was a rocky time when Andy was having trouble walking, but the fishing tradition continued on as Allen would help out with the more difficult tasks of the trip so that Andy could still come. As a matter of fact, until Allen's recent diagnosis with PLS, everyone had marveled that Allen always seemed to effortlessly be in "tip top shape". So when the tables turned, and Andy was feeling better, but Allen's PLS was creating mobility changes, Andy wanted to find a way to help Allen get in and out of the fishing boat. Thanks to Andy's creative thinking and handy skills, Allen can get in and out of the boat using a lift that Andy built for him, #MakingItPossible for their 32 year long tradition to continue.  Allen loves to come to the ALS Society Coffee Support Group, and we are looking forward to hearing his and Linda's stories of this year's fishing trip!

June 9: Byron Thompson #MakingItPossible

                                                The story below is told through the voice of Byron Thompson's mother, Jane Thompson .

                                              The story below is told through the voice of Byron Thompson's mother, Jane Thompson.

"When our son was born his Nana made his first handmade quilt for his crib, whenever a new bed was required Nana made him a new quilt, Byron had never had a store bought quilt on his bed. In the spring of 2011 our son was diagnosed with ALS some of the most devastating news a parent can receive about their child.  Through this journey with ALS we as a family have received so much love and caring from his care givers, family and friends without this love we could not have gotten through this journey.

We thought what about the patients that do not have friends and family to step in and give that little extra love and support and so started a quilting journey. His Nana and I (his Mom) decided to make wheelchair quilts or lap quilts to be donated to ALS patients that need a little extra hug when they are going through a tough day. For three years I have also donated queen size quilts to raise funds for the Alberta ALS walks.

Before his passing in June 2014, his Nana gave him a new quilt that we sent to heaven with him to remind him how much love he received on his journey with ALS and hopefully our quilts that Nana and I make will give the receiver of that quilt a little special hug."

June 8: Mark Turner #MakingItPossible

Meet Mark Turner. Describing himself as a “nothing, know it all”, Mark’s true passion lies in aircraft, from anything that has to do with airplanes to helicopters. His lust for aircraft began when he joined the Air Force in 1970, working with aircraft plumbing, sheet metal mechanics, machine shop, refinishing, painting and welding. After retiring in 1991 from the Air force, Mark’s passion for aircraft continued with building, creating and designing model flight airplanes and always finding new and innovative ways to make things work. He especially enjoys working on his model aircraft projects with his grandson. Since his diagnosis with PLS in 2007, Mark is thankful for the EZ chair and power wheel chair that was provided to him by the ALS Society of Alberta. This equipment is #MakingItPossible for him to continue spending time with his family and enjoy doing what he loves the most; working with model airplanes.  

June 7: Marcus Harwood #MakingItPossible

Marcus Harwood and his wife Arlene love to get out on adventures and have fun together.  They have never let ALS stand in their way of what matters to them!  When the couple received an invitation to their good friend's 40th Surprise Birthday Party, with a 1970's costume theme at that, they knew they could "make it possible" to attend, and said they'd be there for their friend, bellbottoms on and all! Half the fun of the whole experience was going out shopping for the perfect 70's outfit.  As you can see, Marcus nailed the 70's look from top to bottom! 

June 6: John Tuckwell #MakingItPossible

John spent a month in beautiful Tobago last spring. Living with ALS, John relied on a cough assist machine which was kept on his night stand. John claimed that the “cleaning staff” knocked the cough machine off his table, asking if the ALS Society of Alberta would be able to provide him with a replacement. The Society shipped a replacement cough assist machine to his sister in Toronto who was on her way to spend time with John on his vacation in Tobago. Although John claims that the “cleaning staff” knocked over his cough assist machine, our suspicions lead us to think that it may have been caused by the rum punch you can see John and his friend enjoying in sunny Tobago! The ALS Society of Alberta and John’s family and friends helped to make his vacation stay in Tobago comfortable, accommodating and possible! #MakingItPossible

June 3: Wayne Erickson #MakingItPossible

Wayne Erikson is passionate about birds and to photograph them in nature. His friends know him as “warm”, “kind” and always inspiring others to be better. After Wayne was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, his life changed quickly and he was no longer able to hold his camera the way he had before. His friend Jill Routhier, spoke to Sherwood Park’s Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation Director, Colin Weir, about how they could arrange to share the beauty of the bird sanctuary with her dear friend, Wayne. Wayne was unable to travel, so Colin offered to take the birds to him. Colin and the birds headed to Morinville, AB  where Wayne lived,  to spend the day with Wayne. With his diagnosis, Wayne rarely gets to spend time outdoors. This was a special day for Wayne, as he spent an afternoon on his back porch with Colin, who spoke with him about his knowledge of birds and nature. This was a freeing and life changing experience for Wayne and for the first time in a long time, he felt “freedom”. Colin Weir, Jill Routhier and The Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation made this touching experience possible for Wayne Erickson. 

June 2: Gerald Anderson #MakingItPossible

 Gerald Anderson’s granddaughter, Amanda, played a very special role in his life. Amanda’s wedding day was nearing and she wanted nothing more than to have her papa (as she called him) walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. As Gerald’s diagnosis progressed, the wedding was set to take place at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where he was being cared for. Amanda’s wedding day dream became a reality and her papa, Gerald, was able to guide her down the aisle on her special day. This is a truly inspiring story that shares how despite Gerald’s diagnosis, with the help from the Misericordia Hospital, the ALS Society of Alberta and Gerald Anderson’s friends and family, this special day and life lasting memory was made possible.

Gerald Anderson’s granddaughter, Amanda, played a very special role in his life. Amanda’s wedding day was nearing and she wanted nothing more than to have her papa (as she called him) walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. As Gerald’s diagnosis progressed, the wedding was set to take place at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where he was being cared for. Amanda’s wedding day dream became a reality and her papa, Gerald, was able to guide her down the aisle on her special day. This is a truly inspiring story that shares how despite Gerald’s diagnosis, with the help from the Misericordia Hospital, the ALS Society of Alberta and Gerald Anderson’s friends and family, this special day and life lasting memory was made possible.

Introducing ALS Awareness Month - June 1: Erin Serack #MakingItPossible

    Continue reading Erin's story below;      I can still vividly recall a question from a job interview I attended when I was about 19 years old; “Do you consider   yourself to be a lucky person?” I remember pausing briefly before replying “No, I don’t.” The interviewer then asked me   “What makes you say that?” to which my response was “Well, I’ve never won any contests or the lottery…I’m really not   lucky at all!” The interviewer then spoke again, “We don’t believe you need to win the lottery to be considered lucky. We   believe if you’ve had a good upbringing, a loving family, a roof over your head, food on the table, access to education,   and freedom to pursue the things you want in life, you are lucky.” It was a moment of awakening for my ego-centered 19   year old brain, and I’ve reflected on those words almost every day of my life since.      The truth is, I was very lucky, and have continued to be extremely fortunate throughout my life. I have a loving and   supportive immediate and extended family. I was able to attend University after high school, and have had the   opportunity to work in a variety of different careers until I settled on one that I found fulfilling. I have been given   numerous opportunities with my company to develop and grow in my career, one of which relocated me from   Saskatoon to Calgary three and a half years ago. I have been fortunate enough to travel to different countries and   experience different cultures (though my list of places yet to go is still long!). Most importantly, I have been extremely   fortunate to have developed incredibly strong friendships over my lifetime, some going back to grade school, and some   as recent as this past year, since my diagnosis.

Continue reading Erin's story below;

I can still vividly recall a question from a job interview I attended when I was about 19 years old; “Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person?” I remember pausing briefly before replying “No, I don’t.” The interviewer then asked me “What makes you say that?” to which my response was “Well, I’ve never won any contests or the lottery…I’m really not lucky at all!” The interviewer then spoke again, “We don’t believe you need to win the lottery to be considered lucky. We believe if you’ve had a good upbringing, a loving family, a roof over your head, food on the table, access to education, and freedom to pursue the things you want in life, you are lucky.” It was a moment of awakening for my ego-centered 19 year old brain, and I’ve reflected on those words almost every day of my life since.
 

The truth is, I was very lucky, and have continued to be extremely fortunate throughout my life. I have a loving and supportive immediate and extended family. I was able to attend University after high school, and have had the opportunity to work in a variety of different careers until I settled on one that I found fulfilling. I have been given numerous opportunities with my company to develop and grow in my career, one of which relocated me from Saskatoon to Calgary three and a half years ago. I have been fortunate enough to travel to different countries and experience different cultures (though my list of places yet to go is still long!). Most importantly, I have been extremely fortunate to have developed incredibly strong friendships over my lifetime, some going back to grade school, and some as recent as this past year, since my diagnosis.