ALS Canada highlights the 2023 ALS Canada Kevin Daly Bursary recipients

A medical student at the Université de Sherbrooke, Catherine Brassard exhibits a steadfast determination and adherence to furthering her studies in the wake of her father’s ALS diagnosis in early 2023. Her interest in pursuing neurology in her studies was amplified as her family began navigating life with the disease.  

With her dad’s symptoms first being recognized in late 2022, the confirmation of an ALS diagnosis led Catherine to grasp an unimaginable life shift. “It’s something we always think happens to others but not to us – so I initially went through a period of shock following his diagnosis, and it took a while to absorb it all,” Catherine explains. “The most important thing for me was to make sense of everything happening. I thought of taking a break from medicine, but continuing to study and see patients helps me continue something that helps me make sense of everything.” 

For Catherine, being a recipient of a 2023 ALS Canada Kevin Daly Bursary means that the hurdles she faces as she navigates the impact of her father’s diagnosis are recognized. “Receiving the bursary helps bring a feeling of support. I don’t know anyone living with the same experience as me, and at my age, there aren’t many people I talk to frequently who have lived through it. So, the bursary represents a sense of support, knowing other people have had the same experience, and financial support aiding in the expenses a medical degree generates.” 

With a journey in medicine lying ahead and hopes that her future patients can find, in her toolbox, what is best for them in coping with grief, she currently continues to learn how to navigate her journey with ALS daily, “The way I see it, living with the impacts of ALS, is really to go day-by-day – something my family has been telling ourselves.”