My family participated in Calgary’s ALS fundraiser this weekend. It was a great success. We had a sunny and mild Sunday morning with almost 2,000 people at the North Glenmore park for this year’s walk/run. A lot of money was raised to support victims of ALS with practical daily aids – things like breathing devices, beds, wheelchair ramps – and with an active support group. ALS (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease in the States and Motor Neuron Disorder in Europe) is a devastating fatal disease of unknown cause that results in paralysis and eventually suffocation when lung muscles no longer function. Support for the illness is largely through events like this annual gathering here in Calgary.
It was really nice to see our Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, at the event. He spoke about volunteerism (Our mayor used to be a university professor who taught NGO, or non-profit charity, management.) Mayor Nenshi told the assembly that everyone who participated was exemplifying unselfish good citizenship because ALS can affect anyone. This event, he said, was not just for friends or family, but was for strangers whom we will never meet. Calgary’s Mayor Nenshi is an honourable, hard-working man who believes good citizenship involves helping others. As he spoke, I couldn’t help but compare him with Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, a rich and spoiled self-centered man, who advocates for himself. When Toronto’s Ford is in the news, it is a good day for clowns. When Calgary’s Nenshi makes the news, it is a good day for the city. You’ve heard the old adage – you know a man by his friends. My sympathies to the folks in Toronto. Hope you can do better in the fall election.