Captain Kevin Lider and Deputy Chief Brad Martin were doing some prep work on Wednesday morning as the Lloydminster Fire Department takes to the roof of Fire Station 1, 5013 - 49 Ave., this weekend to raise funds for ALS. If you see department members on the roof this weekend, stop in and say hello, and help fill their boots with donations for the ALS Society of Alberta. TAYLOR WEAVER LLS PHOTO
The Lloydminster Fire Department rooftop campout this weekend in support of the ALS Society of Alberta will bring some comfort and joy to city resident Dale Block.
Block was diagnosed with ALS this past summer and he applauds ALS Society client service programs, which provide him with a better quality of life.
He said in an e-mail if he could describe the ALS Society’s support in one word, it would be seamless.
Block was the manager of Alberta Children’s Services for the NE Zone of the Central Region, and helped serve some of Alberta’s most vulnerable population.
He said this has given him great insight into the ALS Society’s programs and services, as he is now considered to be part of the vulnerable population.
Block will be a fundraising inspiration at the 48-hour campout in the cold at Fire Station No. 1 on 49 Avenue from Friday at 5 p.m until Sunday at 5 p.m.
“This weekend marks our fifth annual ALS Rooftop Campout,” said fire chief Jordan Newton.
“It’s a way for the Lloydminster Fire Department to raise funds and awareness for the ALS Society of Alberta.”
This year’s fundraising goal is $30,000, with Block to cheerlead the start of the drive.
“Fundraising for the ALS Society is important because they require donations and provide equipment that goes directly into clients’ homes,” said Block in an ALS Society statement.
“The Society is an immediate and practical support to those trying to maximize quality of life and minimize the financial burden of ALS, at a time when the family is dealing with shocking grief and a sense of loss.”
Block’s wife Amanda is a teacher, and the couple has lived in the Lloydminster area for approximately 35 years and have three adult sons.
Block is still very early in his diagnosis and does not require a wheelchair.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurodegenerative disease where the nerve cells that control muscles die.
It is a terminal disease with no cure or effective treatment available.
Funding allows the ALS Society to assist clients like Block with their equipment loan program, home visits, support groups, information and referrals.
Client services programs also support youth through the Support for Champions program.
In Canada, approximately 2,500-3,000 people are living with ALS and have a lifespan after diagnosis of two to five years on average.
Newton says the ALS campout will be no picnic on the roof if wintery weather prevails.
“I know all the firefighters have been watching the news intently to see what the weather’s going to be like and it actually looks like it’s going to be on our side this year, but we have had some very cold years in the past; we wear lots and lots of layers,” said Newton.
Supporters are encouraged to stop by the downtown station to make donations, have a coffee, and visit with firefighters as they camp out for a cause.
It all started after a fellow firefighter died from ALS.
“It’s actually quite dear to our hearts to support the ALS Society,” said Newton.
“Back in 2013, one of the senior members of our department was diagnosed with ALS and ultimately passed away from ALS in December 2013.
“It means a lot; it’s a way for us to remember him.”
The fire department recently received the 2017 ALS Society of Alberta’s Exceptional Fundraising Program Award, having raised over $100,000 from the previous four campouts.
Firefighters are holding another fundraising brunch this year at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre (LGCC) from 8 a.m.to 11:30 a.m Saturday morning.
Brunch tickets are available at City Hall or LGCC for $20 each.
“You’ll also see firefighters throughout the community at all of out major grocers raising funds as well,” said Newton.