September 18, 2013. Wilfrid, Nathalie Savard’s dad, learns he has ALS.
The following month, Nathalie contacts the ALS Society of Quebec and learns that the team needs help with the Baie-Comeau ALS Walk. She, along with her sisters and her uncle, immediately jump on the opportunity to get involved. “We are happy to have done it while my dad was still alive. He saw our involvement and our effort and, in addition, the year he was diagnosed was the year of the Ice Bucket Challenge. We would send him videos and he was happy to watch them.”
The following year, the Baie-Comeau Walk did not take place. But this did not prevent Nathalie and her sisters, Caroline and Isabelle, to renew their commitment to the Society. Thanks to the owners of a campground, a couple with whom Nathalie is friends, the Savard family organized new fundraisers. “Our friends loved my dad, and my dad loved them too, so they decided to help us by letting us organize fundraisers on their campground, in addition to remitting visitors’ admission fees to the Society.”
“It allows us to grow and to progress. In the end, I think we all need to give, without expecting anything in return.”
Auctions, draws, drive-in movie nights, and various shows are all fundraising events held to finance research, a priority for this family who was hit hard by ALS: on December 3rd 2014, Wilfrid Savard succumbed to ALS at the age of 69. “We went through this, we know what it is like. This is a disease that is not well known, one that we would have rather not gotten to know ourselves. The more money there is for research, the more researchers will be able to work on it and make breakthroughs, and maybe find something small that people can hang on to.”
Volunteering for the Society for the last three years, the administrative assistant has always been able to include her volunteer work into her daily life. “I find this really constructive. To me, volunteering is really important. It has always been part of my life and I passed it on to my kids. Today, they are 22 and 24, and when I ask them whether they want to be involved, it is natural for them to say yes.” In fact, the Savard family is working on organizing a spaghetti dinner and a karaoke night that will take place this summer in support of the Society. Nathalie hopes to inspire many to start fundraising activities everywhere across the province. “It allows us to grow and to progress. In the end, I think we all need to give, without expecting anything in return.”