June is ALS Awareness Month


In Memoriam Day

The ALS Society of Québec launched ALS Awareness Month with the first edition of an In Memoriam day. The goal of this special day was to celebrate the lives of people who fought bravely against the fatal neurodegenerative disease. Yves Lafleur, psychosocial counsellor at the Society explains: “Surrounding the room was not only courage, but also the love that exists within each family affected by the disease.” The goal was to reunite families who have had similar experiences and highlight the work of caregivers. Emotions were at their highest when candles were lit, a gesture symbolizing the ever living memory of the deceased.

The organizing committee, comprised of Marie-Eve Lemaire, Elyse Claude Léveillé and Nathalie Provost, all women who lost of loved one,  would like to thank all those who made this day possible: Radio-Canada’s Patrice Roy who animated the event with great sensitivity and humility. Julie Philippon who equally gave a testimony that was as touching and authentic about her father who had suffered from the bulbar form of ALS. Radio-Canada’s éline Galipeau and Julie Bonneau, brought to life so many emotions while describing the only fight that Bruno Bonamigo ever lost. Claire Charpentier, a bereavement counsellor, addressed the grieving process; describing the emotional and physical impacts of grief, yet in an inspirational and empowering manner. Dr. Heather Durham and Dr. Benoit Gentil gave an overview on current research, the source of hope for many families. Thank you to the Palais de Congrès, the convention center for their support in honor of a member now deceased had worked there for 20 years. And finally, a warm thank you to all participants.

To remember, to gather

About 130 people gathered at the Palais de Congrès on June 1.  But many more people took part in their own way, for the inauguration of the ALS Awareness Month.

The Society had invied its Facebook community to light a candle at home as well. Everywhere across the province, families answred the call and gathered around a candle in memory of a  loved one. Claudine Cook, Executive Director of the Society, was touched by the participation across the province. “So many people gathered with family and lit a candle in memory of a loved one. We have received many comments, emails , even photos.”

The ALS Society team is thrilled that so many people gathered on June 1st and during the In Memoriam Day: families who didn’t know each other but who had been through similar experiences, family members gathered for a loved one… All different people together for the same cause.