Amherst firefighters reminded of impact of fundraising efforts
Amherst firefighters do more than tackle fire, they also tackle disease.
“Firefighters are heroes,” said Lynn Arsenault, mother of 17-year-old Daniel Arsenault, who lives with Muscular Dystrophy. “You save lives every day from ruthless flames and, at the same time, you also give of your time to save the lives of the innocent, like Daniel, who battles neuromuscular disorders every day.”
Lynn was the guest speaker at the Amherst Fire Department’s annual banquet recently held at the Amherst Fire Hall. Daniel and her husband Kenny Arsenault joined her.
Before Lynn took to the microphone, the Amherst department presented a $12,200 cheque to Shelley McWilliams, firefighter relation’s manager with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, who reminded the Amherst department that they have raised over $553,000 for MDC since 1964.
The Arsenault’s live in Little Harbour, just outside of New Glasgow, and Lynn said speaking at the banquet would help bring awareness and insight into where the firefighter’s hard work and fundraising efforts go.
“Daniel was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in November of 2004. It was a day that changed our lives forever,” said Arsenault.
She said the diagnosis was devastating, and not long after Kenny had a heart attack and Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I can say it would have been very easy for us to give up but we had a child who had the biggest fight of his life ahead of him and he needed us now more than ever.”
Daniel was able to walk until about five years ago when he fell and broke his back and his hip and underwent surgery. He has been wheelchair bound ever since.
“His wheelchair is just one of the many assisted devices that Daniel requires on a daily basis to make his life more accessible for him,” said Arsenault.
Among other needs, Daniel also requires a hospital bed for comfort, leg splints to stretch out his muscles at night, a cough assist device to help him cough to prevent pneumonia due to his weakened chest muscles, and a machine that assists with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide while he is sleeping.
“We are presently waiting for a ceiling lift which will save us from physically having to lift Daniel ourselves,” said Arsenault.
Besides medical equipment and devices, funds raised also go towards education and research, and, maybe some day, a cure.
“Please keep up the great work and give Daniel a reason to continue to smile,” said Arsenault. “He may have weakness in strength, but he has strength in character. Together we can help make muscles move. Thank you.”
Daniel Arsenault was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in November of 2004, and has had to use a wheelchair for about five years now. His mom Lynn, seen here at the podium, was the guest speaker at the Amherst Fire Department’s annual banquet on Saturday.