Hello, my name is Alain Bérard. In July 2010, I began noticing certain symptoms, including a major decrease in energy. Despite being in peak physical condition (I ran the Ottawa marathon in May 2010), I felt more exhausted than usual. I had problems swallowing normally, and I noticed twitching in my calves.
After a battery of tests over a period of 11 months, including MRIs, a lumbar puncture, and several electromyograms, on June 1, 2011, at the age of 45, I received the fateful diagnosis of ALS. Upon the mention of these three letters from the neurologist, I felt our entire world crumble: mine, my wife’s, and our two children. It was a terrible shock to our family given that ALS is a death sentence in the relatively short term.
The ALS Society of Québec was a valuable resource for us in terms of providing both psychological support and information about the disease.
I took part in my first Walk for ALS in September 2011, and I was deeply moved by the support shown by my family, friends, and colleagues. When we walked alongside other families affected by ALS, we felt united by our desire to get the message out there about the harsh realities of the disease we’re all fighting against. The Walk for ALS is a fundraising event in support of the ALS Society of Québec’s mission to provide services to people living with ALS and their family members, as well as to contribute to the cutting-edge research currently taking place in Canada, and particularly in Québec.
From the very beginning, I was eager to meet other people with ALS, so that we could talk about our feelings and the progression of the disease. My philosophy was to take it one day at a time, and to live wholeheartedly in the present. I’m convinced that the interactions I’ve had with other’s affected by ALS and by talking with them about our experiences it will be beneficial for everyone as we learn to cope with this disease.
Since then, I’ve become an active member of the ALS Society of Québec’s Board of Directors and Programs and Services Committee. I also represent Québec on ALS Canada’s Federation Council.
I’ve decided to fight ALS my way…