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Muscular Dystrophy campaign begins

Downtown Vernon Safeway store manager Craig Dickson (right) accepts a $2 donation from Vernon’s Reg Bardsley for the month-long Make Muscles Move campaign, sponsored by Safeway and Muscular Dystrophy Canada. - roger knox/morning star
Downtown Vernon Safeway store manager Craig Dickson (right) accepts a $2 donation from Vernon’s Reg Bardsley for the month-long Make Muscles Move campaign, sponsored by Safeway and Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
— image credit: roger knox/morning star

As a former firefighter, Vernon’s Reg Bardsley was used to helping people.

When a form of muscular dystrophy took away Bardsley’s profession, he turned to help from Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Canada Safeway.

Through the organizations’ Make Muscles Move campaign, they were able to help Bardsley purchase a wheelchair for his mobility.

Now, as the North Okanagan’s volunteer muscular dystrophy coordinator, Bardsley is giving back.

“Coming from a firefighting background, I was the person trying to help other people, and it’s very humbling to have to ask for help yourself in this circumstance,” said Bardsley, who turns 53 on Aug. 22, and who was diagnosed with fasio-scapular-humoral dystrophy in 2002.

The disease has affected his mobility in arms and legs, and Bardsley said he’s getting weaker as the years progress.

Bardsley was on hand at both Vernon Canada Safeway stores Thursday to announce the launch of the Make Muscles Move campaign.

Throughout the month of August, Safeway patrons will be asked as they go through the tills if they want to make a $2 donation to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

All proceeds go to the Make Muscles Move campaign which helps people stricken with muscular dystrophy purchase a lift-assist device for their home. The money can also help make a client  put a down payment on a wheelchair van or, as in Bardsley’s case, help buy a wheelchair to help with mobility.

“My chair cost between $5,000 and $6,000, and there’s absolutely no way I could afford it without Muscular Dystrophy and Canada Safeway,” said Bardsley. “I’d be stuck at home and wouldn’t be able to go out and volunteer.”

Last year, the campaign raised between $40,000 and $50,000 in the North Okanagan, and around $95,000 in the Okanagan Valley.

A first Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in May netted around $13,000, and the Vernon Square Canada Safeway will host a community-wide garage sale on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

People can bring items to the Vernon Square store for the sale, and items to be purchased will be by donation.

The Make Muscles Move campaign is not just about raising funds for muscular dystrophy, but to provide awareness about the disease which knows no age limits.

“On that day of the garage sale, we invited people out to talk to clients, family of clients and understand what muscular dystrophy is all about,” said Bardsley. “The goal with raising funds is to bring the quality of life to a standard level. Most of the cases are very progressive. Every day, month or year, you’re losing part of your mobility. We want to have people understand the disability and that’s a big part of campaign, the awareness. This disease can affect children or adults later in life, like it did with me.”

During the campaign, Safeway customers who make a $2 donation will receive a Safeway cart coin release key chain (while quantities last) or five Air Miles reward miles.

 

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