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Lloydminster Firefighters on the Rooftop to Help People with ALS

The Lloydminster Fire Department has begun its fifth annual camp-out in support of the ALS Society.

Firefighters climbed onto the roof of Fire Hall Number One Friday at 5pm, and will stay until Sunday at 5pm. Members of the department will also be taking donations at locations around town.

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and it is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the nerve cells that control muscles to die. ALS is a terminal disease which has no cure or effective treatment. In Canada, approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people are living with the disease. The lifespan after diagnosis is around two to five years.

The donations from the camp-out will help people like Dale Block, who has been living with ALS.

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“Probably the best way I could explain it is you’re living daily life and then all of the sudden you can’t do up the buttons in your shirt. Then a couple weeks later you can do up a button, then all of the sudden a couple weeks later you can’t do it up at all. You don’t have the fine motor skills. Second thing I noticed is going up stairs it’s like having 20 pound weights on both legs on your ankles.”

Block explains that if he goes on a walk with his wife, he can only gete a few hundred metres before becoming too exhausted to continue. Through the support of the ALS Society, he says he and his family have been able to navigate life with the disease.

“They just step right in with great timing and expertise and compassion. The primary starting point is a week after diagnosis they had a case worker come out to our house. It’s pretty timely when you think about it, when you’ve just found out you’ve got this life changing illness that there’s no treatment for. Their main focus is how can we make the best of your days. They take care of any equipment you need, the cost of it, installation. Because one of the things your dealing with is how to navigate health services and figure out what you do need for your health.”

Block adds that they focus on making sure people with ALS can stay comfortable in their own home and avoid further emotional stress.

To date, the Fire Department has raised over $100,000 for the ALS Society, and plan to continue the event for years to come.

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