Okanagan man honoured with ALS Award

“I am delighted to have been able to help raise awareness for ALS as well as the ALS Society.”

Murray Vatamaniuck with golf professionals at Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club. (Photo contributed)

Vernon resident Murray Vatamaniuck was announced as the 2019 recipient of the ALS Society of BC Exceptional Public Awareness Program Award.

Murray, who is living with ALS, was featured in the ALS BC Giving Tuesday direct response campaign, provided quotes in the 2019 Bob Heinrich art calendar and supports the PGA of BC Golfathon for ALS at Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club. Murray also participates in the Annual Vernon Walk to End ALS, which takes place in June.

“During my participation in the Vernon Walk, I was blown away with all the generous people who attended, and also with the amount of new friends I made,” said Murray. “I have found going to the ALS Support Group meetings in Kelowna very helpful. When I was first diagnosed, I was attending for 3 years, until it became harder to get around. The meetings were very helpful and I got to see the differences and similarities that we all go through when someone is living with ALS.”

Related: ALS reality revealed by Vernon man

Related: Vernon ALS Walk a success

Murray wants to encourage other organizations to raise funds and awareness for ALS. He would like to challenge the ski industry to present a fundraising day such as a “BC Ski to End ALS.” Murray said he loves to take his family skiing, as it was his way of keeping his kids out of mischief. Unfortunately, due to the disease, his family is unable to go skiing together like they used to.

“A day to end ALS would be a great way for this industry to help support those living with ALS and their families, it would make a huge impact,” said Murray.

“I am delighted to have been able to help raise awareness for ALS as well as the ALS Society, since they have done so much for me and other patients. This is the most supportive group I have found in Canada and the U.S. The support and physical support for caregivers and the equipment loan program is money well spent.”

The volunteer awards night for the ALS Society of BC was held on April 2, 2019 at Quilchena Golf & Country Club, to recognize the involvement of volunteers and donors in supporting the cause.

“Murray is a very grateful and joyous person. He inspires everyone who meets him,” said Wendy Toyer, Executive Director of the ALS Society of BC.

The purpose of the Exceptional Public Awareness Program Award is to evaluate and recognize exceptional programs that aimed to educate and increase public awareness of ALS during the previous 12 months. Public awareness activities may include liaisons with the media, co-coordinating public awareness displays and speaking to the public or other organizations about ALS.

Related: Longest surviving person with ALS in Vernon walk

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