Walk for Muscular Dystrophy raises $28,000 to help find a cure

Muscle Movement: The starting point of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy at Bowness Park in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Eighteen teams and 200 people showed up for the walk. (Photo by Mackenzie Grafton/The Press)

The Calgary Walk for Muscular Dystrophy drew 18 teams and 200 people to Bowness Park on Sept., 14 with a final fund-raising total of $28,196 from more than 360 donations.

“Money raised at the walk is used to provide essential medical and mobility equipment to our clients, and to further research in pursuit of a cure for muscular dystrophy,” said Mark Perry, the annual campaign’s co-ordinator for Alberta.

“In prior years the walk has seen as many as 300 participants, and raised more than $90,000 in both 2016 and 2017,” Perry said.

This year marked the 12th national anniversary for the walk, with fundraisers and awareness campaigns taking place in 45 cities across Canada, from May to September.

Registration for the event kicked off at 10 a.m. while the walk took place at 12 p.m.

“I coordinate with local volunteer chapters to plan and organize walk events in Alberta,” said Perry,

“We work together to make sure that we create a fully accessible and engaging event for the community, and try to add new features every year to keep things fresh and exciting.”

Along with the walk, the event had many activities, including face painting, accessible outdoor games, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle.

Five other non-profit groups were at the park with information booths and to engage with participants of the walk.

The walk was a one-kilometre loop around Bowness Park and is intentionally short because many of the participants use mobility devices.

“This was our first time at the walk,” said Theresa Armanious. “They picked a great day for this, the weather is perfect.”

Armanious and her family took part in the walk to support the organization. Two members of her family have limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.

The Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation, led by Fire Captain Marco Ficaccio was at the park grilling up burgers and hot dogs for participants.

In Calgary, the firefighters put on a Rooftop Camp Out event each year, that takes place in the middle of winter. The firefighters don’t come down until they have met the fund-raising goal.

“The Camp Out is where members of our Fire Department camp on a rooftop, collecting funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada,” said Ficaccio.

“That’s our connection to this walk. We came out last year and they asked us to come back for this year.”

Canadian Fire Fighters have supported Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1954, and they help with fund-raising.

More than 600 fire departments support this cause from coast-to-coast, and they have helped raise over $85 million since 1954.

Turning up the heat: The Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation, led by Fire Captain Marco Ficaccio, left centre, at the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy at Bowness Park in Calgary on Sept. 14, 2019. The firefighters were at the park grilling up burgers and hot dogs for participants of the walk. (Photo by Mackenzie Grafton/The Press)