Deirdre O’Connor and her husband, Floyd, became ALS Canada donors 15 years ago. At the time, they had no personal connection to the cause, but they liked the fact that ALS Canada was a small, cost-effective charitable organization without a lot of overhead. Deirdre’s generosity extends to half a dozen or more organizations she supports on a regular basis, but with ALS Canada, she has deepened her commitment beyond annual giving by making a bequest in her will. In her words, “It’s a way to pay it forward, to leave a lasting legacy that will benefit people with ALS in the future.”

When official news of Floyd’s ALS diagnosis came in 2012, the couple, both retired at the time, turned to ALS Canada for help. “I never knew we would end up depending on ALS Canada for so much support,” says Deirdre. “Floyd’s greatest wish was to remain at home, and I realized I would never be able to give him the kind of care he needed on my own.”

As Floyd’s condition worsened, Deirdre relied on her ALS Canada regional manager, Sarah, to help acquire different types of equipment on loan such as walkers and a wheelchair for mobility, a bath chair to help with bathing, and a special bed to make sleeping easier. During the two years Floyd lived with ALS, Sarah became Deirdre’s first point of contact when any new problem cropped up. “I knew I could just pick up the phone and ask a question and there would be someone there to help me,” she recalls. “That’s what mattered most.”

The kind of support ALS Canada Regional Managers give when it is most needed often becomes a lifeline for people struggling as their loved ones grow weaker by the day. In Deirdre’s case, the practical and emotional support she received from Sarah directly, and through attending monthly support meetings with other family members struggling with the same challenges, meant she was not alone.

When Deirdre explains why she decided to make a legacy gift to ensure the future of ALS Canada, she speaks from the perspective of someone who knows first-hand what emotional support and practical help can do to ease the burden of living with ALS. In turn, we are extremely fortunate to have generous and caring donors like Deirdre O’Connor!

Did you know?
In Canada, May is “leave a legacy” month, which encourages people to make a donation through their will or another planned giving vehicle to a charity or cause that is meaningful to them. A planned gift to ALS Canada is a way to extend your compassion to people and families who will face an ALS diagnosis in the future, and to demonstrate your shared hope for the day where ALS will be a treatable, not terminal disease.

We are committed to working with you, your family and your financial advisor to ensure your philanthropic and financial goals are met. If you have questions about making a donation to ALS Canada in your will, please contact or 1-800-267-4257.

Posted in: Advocacy, Stories