Claudine and Véronique celebrate 10 years with ALS Society of Quebec

They take a look back at a decade of accomplishments

Claudine Cook, Carlos Botelho, Véronique PignatelliIt’s hard to believe but it has been 10 years since Véronique Pignatelli, Director of Services and Programs and I joined the ALS Society of Quebec. It’s been a privileged to work alongside such an amazing team and a blessing to be able to help those living with ALS and their loved ones. Each day, we pledge to make the biggest impact we possibly can.

Taking a page from David Letterman, we created a Top 10 List to highlight the Society’s biggest achievements in the last decade.  None of these advances would have been possible without the families touched by ALS who inspire and motivate us, the donors and partners who believe in our mission and the tireless volunteers who always step forward to help. This anniversary is a celebration of our team effort that has resulted in a strong and vibrant organization. (Photo: Claudine Cook, Carlos Botelho and Véronique Pignatelli)


IIn the last decade, we have introduced a wide variety of services designed to help those living with ALS and their caregivers. We are particularly proud to have been able to increase services to those living in the province’s regions as they often experience a greater degree of isolation.   The first wave of expansion in 2005-2008 was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the André-Delambre Foundation.  Today, we are in the process of expanding services for caregivers because of a grant from l’APPUI.(Photo, left to right:Lise Descheses, former Board President, André Delambre et Louisette Strauss, volunteer at the Society)


ALS Research in CanadaIn the last 10 years, thanks to donors, volunteers and participants at our events, we’ve contributed $1.5-million to the advancement of research by supporting:  ALS Canada’s Research Fund; the André-Delambre International ALS Research Symposium, the Tony Proudfoot Post-Doctorate Fellowship and the ALS Research Fund at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. We are proud to support Canada’s world-renowned researchers who are seeking effective therapies and eventually a cure for ALS.



Where would we be without our extraordinary team of volunteers?! Since 2004, our team has grown and grown. The ALS Society of Quebec is fortunate to be surrounded by so many people who selflessly give their time and energy as members of our board of directors, as event organizers and as helpers at fundraisers or in our office. This vibrant and unified group believes in our mission and is devoted to our cause. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.


In 2007, comedian Martin Matte whose father died of ALS literally passed the puck to Vincent Damphousse, former Montreal Canadien’s captain and Stanley Cup winner who was truly instrumental in helping the Society grow. Vincent quickly rolled up his sleeps and got to work joining our fundraising committee and Board of Directors. For over six years, he has chaired his annual Golf Tournament in collaboration with Clublink as well as his signature Poker Tournament in support of ALS. He along with his circle of friends and the Tenaquip Foundation raised $1-million in support of the Society.  By rallying business leaders and sports celebrities, Vincent has also generated a tremendous amount of awareness about the disease and its devastating impact on those afflicted. Thank you Vincent! (Photo 1: Martin Matte passing the puck to Vincent Damphousse. Photo 2: Vincent Damphousse with Robert Michaud)


When Véronique and I joined the Society, there was one annual event: the Montreal Walk for ALS.  Flash forward 10 years, thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers there are now nine annual walks held across Quebec.  Our Celebrity Softball Game, which featured former Expo greats Moisés Alou, Pedro Martinez, Andre Dawson, Steve Rogers and Warren Cromartie and recently a team of Quebec female personalities have helped raise the Society’s profile in Montreal and Quebec City. Our Spinning for ALS, spearheaded by volunteer Diane Tkalec helped set in motion the training for our three-day, 300 kilometer and our one day Ride for ALS, chaired by truly dedicated volunteers Luc Vilandré and Dominic Delambre. The Ride raises over 20% of our annual revenues. Annually, there are also over 20 events held across Quebec by third parties in support of the Society’s mission.  Over a course of the fundraising season, we run, walk, roll ride, bake, sell, swing, spin, tee-off, entertain and raise awareness of ALS.  Interested in hosting an event in your community? (Photo: Cyclists from the 2013 Ride for ALS)


Every gift no matter how big or small helps us to fulfill our mission.  We are most fortunate to have so many generous donors including a key number of long-term major donors and partners on whom we count every year including the Fondation André-Delambre, Tenaquip Foundation and the Reed Family, Tony Proudfoot Fund, W.L. Activewear, Liaison Can-US, Travelway International, Partenaires Santé Québec and Canada, Athletic Knit,  Les Hôtes de Mtl, TELUS Health Solutions and many others. Every dollar counts, every donor counts to help fulfill our mission. Thank you!  (Photo: Vincent Damphousse (center) with the Reed Family)


Nathalie Beauvais and Galina Charitonov (CLSC Lac St-Louis)To ensure those living with ALS and their caregivers get the best, most compassionate care possible we have worked hard to forge strong ties with neurologists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, and various other health care providers working across the province. Our partnership allows health care workers learn more about this devastating disease so they can better support and better anticipate the needs of those in their care. We are proud to partner with various ALS Consultation Committees, ALS Clinics across the province, Local Community Services Centres (CLSCs), rehabilitation centres, NOVA and many more.  Together we are easing the journey of those afflicted with ALS and their caregivers. (Photo:Nathalie Beauvais and Galina Charitonov, CLSC Lac-St-Louis)


Tony Proudfoot courageously shared his battle with ALS in a series of articles published in the Montreal Gazette. His touching narratives really drove home how slowly but surely this disease robs people of their freedom and vitality. It also served to highlight the impact ALS has on caregivers, children, extended family and friends. The Montreal Alouettes have been huge supporters of the ALS Society of Quebec. Without fail, players have participated in the Annual Montreal ALS Walk.  Their presence helps use raise awareness and raise funds.  We are most grateful to the members of the Montreal media who send reporters to our fundraisers and events. We offer a hearty thank- you to Radio-Canada, Bell Media (TV and radio) and the Montreal Gazette. (Photo: Tony Proudfoot, centre, with the Montreal Alouettes)Céline Galipeau and Patrice Roy at Montreal Walk for ALS

An important change we have made over the years is in the way we communicate with our stakeholders: our new website, social media and newsletters serve to provide resources and information. (Photo: Céline Galipeau and Patrice Roy at the 2013 Walk for ALS in Montreal)


ALS Society of Quebec Board of DirectorsAlexandra Sofio, Christiane Proulx, Aurélie Eberhaerd, Jocelyn Théoret, Yves Lafleur and Chantal LanthierVéronique and I are but two peas in a big pod. We are blessed to come to work each day and to be surrounded by an amazing team of engaged colleagues. It is invigorating to work alongside these dedicated individuals. We challenge each other and support each as we strive to enhance services so those with ALS and their caregivers can lead their best lives. (Photo 1: Psychocial counsellors team. Photo 2: Board members at the 2013 Ride for ALS)


Mosaic of our members

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. There is still no cure, very little treatment. But despite this, there remains a wellspring of hope among those afflicted. They don’t give up. They battle the disease and live their lives to the best of their abilities. They inspire Véronique and I, the entire team, our Board of Directors and our volunteers to work harder and reach further. Quite simply they teach us the value of life. We come to work each day for you and because of you.

Ten years after Véronique and I first walked through the society’s doors, the organization is stronger than ever. We are committed to serving and supporting families and caregivers, making the public more aware of this disease and supporting researcher who are searching for treatments and a cure.

Team ALS: Care and HopeCheers, to everything accomplished in the last 10 years and everything to be achieve, together, in the next 10.