Yves Brisson, living with ALS for two years, thanks you

Grateful dad with ALS thanks those who took the Ice Bucket Challenge

Donations will help him cope as disease progresses

Yves Brisson

Dumping a bucket of ice water over your head gives you a shock! But that is nothing compared to the shock Yves Brisson received on August 20, 2012 when his neurologist told him he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Yves was 53 when he got the fatal diagnosis.

For Yves the symptoms of the neurodegenerative disease started slowly.  At first, it was a garbled word here and there. His speech impediment grew progressively worse to the point some acquaintances wondered if he had a drinking problem or had suffered a stroke.

ALS would eventually rob Yves of his ability to speak. To communicate, he now types messages on an iPad. He purchased the tablet thanks to the ALS Society of Quebec’s Financial Contribution Program. The program pays for services (to a maximum of $500 per year) not covered by government programs, such as massage therapy, transport to medical appointments, psychological support and respite.

To pinpoint why his speech was garbled, Yves, a resident of Quebec City, underwent a boatload of tests at Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus. “It was a process of elimination. I spent one night in the hospital and then the following week underwent one test after another, after another. It culminated during an appointment with a neurologist and the words: ‘You have ALS’”, he writes.

“Since the diagnosis, I learned to pull up my socks and move on.  My life’s ok, I’m in good spirits and try not to dwell on the disorder.  The hardest part is day-by-day, ALS robs a little more of my independence and abilities,” writes Yves. He says his wife finds it particularly difficult to watch his slow deterioration. She cares for her husband while working full time, which is an enormous challenge.

The entire Brisson family took the Ice Bucket Challenge. It gave them a magical family moment and a chance to share a good laugh as they deluged each other with cold water and urging others to do the same in order to raise funds and awareness for ALS.

“A thousand thank you’s to those who took the Ice Bucket Challenge,” he types. “Your donations to the ALS Society of Quebec will ensure the availability of programs and services to help my wife and I face the difficult challenges ahead and will fund research to find treatments and a cure. Please know your financial support is helping me and the 600 other Quebecers living with this disorder.”

People touched by ALS from around the world expressed what the Ice Bucket Challenge meant to them. Here are a few touching stories:

Julie Philippon, blogger on Sympatico whose father had ALS (French)

Alain Bérard, Board member and diagnosed with ALS in 2010 (French)

Chantal Lanthier, Board member, diagnosed in 2013 (French)

Anthony Carbajal, 28 years old meet Ellen Degeneres

Family touched by ALS shares what the challenges means to them