ALS Canada highlights the 2023 ALS Canada Kevin Daly Bursary recipients

Following her father’s ALS diagnosis in the summer of 2022, Daniella D’Amici – a 2023 ALS Canada Kevin Daly Bursary recipient – continues to demonstrate her resourcefulness and resilience in the face of adversity. Currently a biomedical engineering student at the University of British Columbia, Daniella always knew she wanted to pursue a career that blended her desire to problem-solve and do good. 

Designing medical devices through her studies has taken on a new meaning for Daniella as she experiences the unique needs and challenges of people who require equipment to support their daily lives. “A really big thing I hadn’t thought of before but was aware of is the accessibility of assistive devices. Seeing how my dad interacts with them and how custom-fit is such a priority has brought on a new perspective. 

As she continues her academics with a new connection and hopes for the future of medical equipment and accessibility, she also shoulders the new role of caregiver alongside her mother and sister – navigating the mental impacts an ALS diagnosis can bring. “Being impacted by ALS can feel very isolating,” Daniella says. “Your strength is in your support network. I’ve had trouble asking for help sometimes, but I’ve quickly learned this is something that can’t rest on my shoulders. I would let others in similar situations know how to cherish everything with their families, and as terrible as this is, it will bring you closer together.” 

Supporting students by providing a sense of security to ease daily stresses and an opportunity to feel connected with the wider ALS community across Canada is crucial to what the ALS Canada Kevin Daly Bursary seeks to foster. To Daniella, receiving a bursary echoes this sentiment, “Day to day, it can be stressful, so having an external form of security makes a huge difference to me. The additional financial security has been overwhelming and very appreciated. As well as connecting with the ALS Canada team and having them understand what I’m experiencing – that has added a sense of community that has been really special.