You don’t need us to tell you that 2020 has thrown everyone and everything for a loop. A few months into the year, we all found ourselves having to adapt very quickly to mitigate the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. For ALS Canada, that meant cancelling the 2020 edition of our annual ALS Canada Research Forum.

The forum is a commitment to bring together the brightest minds in Canadian ALS research and share the latest scientific knowledge dedicated to creating a future without ALS. At this forum, researchers, clinicians, partners, advocates, donors and people living with ALS come together to learn, connect and collaborate. Although we had to step away from this year’s forum due to restrictions around public gatherings, new and returning sponsors remained committed to their support of the cause. The cancellation of the Research Forum didn’t stop them from continuing to support the ALS community in other ways, it further demonstrated their commitment to the cause and we are grateful for this.

Today, we recognize:

Shortly following the news of the event cancellation, Biogen stepped up to sponsor a panel discussion format webinar series for the ALS research community. Through the sponsorship of this series, Biogen is supporting ALS Canada’s efforts to facilitate scientific knowledge-sharing and collaboration with the ALS research community from Canada and across the globe, only this year, virtually. Although the brightest minds in Canadian ALS research couldn’t come together at our forum this year, they’re continuing their tireless pursuit to realize a future without ALS. You can view the archived webinars on our YouTube channel.

Cytokinetics found a new way to sponsor an ALS Canada initiative too – the ALS Canada Plane Pull to End ALS. This event evolved into 3-week skills competition to challenge over 70 dedicated, passionate individuals to push their limits and raise much-needed funds. With Cytokinetics’ support, this event raised over $100,000 for community-based support services in Ontario, advocacy, and research for a future without ALS.

“The work of the ALS Society of Canada is significant every day,” said Stephanie Hamzo, Associate Director, Patient Advocacy at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. “The needs of the ALS community are even greater during this time of COVID-19, and Alexion is honoured to support their work and walking this special and important journey with the community.”

Andy Zylak, Country Manager at Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada says they are “very pleased to be able to provide support for people with ALS and caregivers during this time.

Thank you, to the sponsors of the 2020 ALS Canada Research Forum that wasn’t, for working with us to create new opportunities and impact in the areas of community-based support services in Ontario, provincial and federal advocacy, and continued investment in Canadian ALS research. Our sponsors have shown us that even when we’re forced to stay apart, we can still band together and be there for each other. Thank you for setting such an inspiring example of dedication to our shared cause.