Coalhurst High students in midst of month-long ALS campaign

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From back left, students Kyla Lamb, Danny Weiss, Dylan Everson, Teacher Michael Saad, Janice Zoeteman of the ALS Society, and learning assistant Micki Gerstenbuhler. Front row, student Alisa Petersen and Linda Scott, a Lethbridge resident who has ALS.

Grade 9 Social Studies students at Coalhurst High School are in the midst of a month-long awareness and fundraising campaign for the ALS Society of Alberta.

The students kicked off the campaign April 30 with special guests speaking to students about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

As part of the awareness and fundraising effort, six Grade 9 students spent a day in a wheelchair May 14 and May 15. For the day, they were unable to eat, drink or move independently the entire day. They needed caregiver assistance for tasks such as drinking water, taking notes or eating lunch. Their caregivers for the day were also students.

ALS is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuro-muscular disease in which a patient's nerve cells degenerate, causing a gradual paralysis of the entire body. There is no definitive cause for ALS, nor is there a cure. It can strike anyone, of any ethnic origin or age.  There are approximately 3,000 Canadians currently living with ALS, and it is largely through advocacy and support groups like the ALS Society of Alberta that patients and families affected by the disease receive emotional, financial, and personal support.  

CHS students hope to raise $700 in donations and sponsorship in May, with all proceeds going to the ALS Society of Alberta toward the purchase of an EZ-Life Reclining Chair for a person living with ALS.

To kick off the campaign, Jan Zoeteman of the ALS Society of Alberta provided a presentation on the society and the disease. Students also heard from Linda Smith, a Lethbridge resident living with ALS, who shared her inspiring story of living with the disease. Both Zoeteman and Smith had participated in the campaign in 2011, and the Grade 9 students at that time, now in Grade 12, were able to show their support for this latest campaign.

Anyone interested in making an online donation to the Wheelchair-for-a-Day online fundraiser, please visit the ALS Society of Alberta webpage, where you can make a donation using your credit card.  Official tax receipts will be provided automatically for any donation of $25 or more. 

Please contact teacher Michael Saad at Coalhurst High School at 403-381-4812 if you have any questions about this project.  



Grade 12 Students from Coalhurst High School pose with ALS Society of Alberta Representatives to help kick off Coalhurst High School's ALS Wheelchair for a Day project that the Social Studies 9 class has initiated for the month of May.  The Grade 12s were part of the school's inaugural project in March 2011, and took time out of their spares to help get this year's Grade 9 class started.  The Grade 12s are standing with the two ALS representatives whom they presented their fundraising cheque to in 2011, and who came back to help the Grade 9s get their project underway.  Mrs. Jan Zoeteman, Southern Alberta representative for the ALS Society of Alberta delivered a presentation to the students about ALS, its devastating effects, and the role of the ALS Society of Alberta in advocating for funding to assist patients ofthe disease.  The kids also heard from Ms. Linda Smith, a Lethbridge area resident who suffers from AL, who talked about living with the disease and her positive outlook on life in spite of it.   
From left to right are:
back row - Kyla Lamb, Danny Weiss, Dylan Everson, Social 9 Teacher Michael Saad, Ms. Janice Zoeteman (ALS Society of Alberta), Micki Gerstenbuhler (TA - CHS)
front row - Alisa Petersen (original ALS Wheelchair student in 2011), Ms. Linda Smith (current ALS patient from Lethbridge Alberta)