FASD awareness focus of annual MACSI walk
- Andrea Ledding | September 10, 2018
The annual walk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) was held September 7th in Saskatoon. Shana Mohr, Training Coordinator at the FASD Network of Saskatchewan and mom of a child with FASD, noted International FASD Day has been happening on September 9th for 19 years.
“The walk brings people together from all over the community to bring awareness and understanding about FASD,” said Mohr. “I always say when we learn about FASD we have to challenge people to think differently. September 9th is also about celebrating people with FASD as well.”
She noted the prevention piece is important but so is acknowledgement of the amazing people who live with FASD. Myles Himmelreich is an adult with FASD who agrees.
“It affects a lot of people in many different ways but the important thing to understand that is we need to move past shame and blame and get past the stigmas of FASD,” said Himmelreich. “So that people such as myself who live with FASD can have successful lives and given the support can do well, but also too as a society if we can understand and be better educated about FASD, we can better support individuals who live with it.”
He noted it’s not just a great time to share awareness but to celebrate the strengths of those with FASD.
“Being able to move past the stigma of “it’s about mothers who don’t care and have addiction issues” - to shame and blame my mom doesn’t help her and doesn’t help me either. People can live with FASD and not only succeed but have great lives, too.”
Shayne Lazarowich, Communications Manager for Métis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan, Incorporated (MACSI) was very pleased with the turnout.
“This is the 17th annual walk that MACSI has done,” said Lazarowich. “It’s meant to be September 9th at 9:09 to represent the nine months of pregnancy, but we held it on the Friday preceding this year.”
Lazarowich was pleased with representation from various levels of government and community, as well as sponsors and partners.
After the walk, which began with a prayer from Elder Norman Fleury, live entertainment kept the crowds tapping their toes while the free barbeque lunch was prepared. Cecile McKay, the Saskatoon Regional Director of MACSI, along with Lazarowich, mentioned the TRC calls to action, specifically 33 which calls upon all levels of government to recognize the need to address and prevent FASD and develop FASD preventative programs delivered in a culturally appropriate manner. Greetings were brought by politicians and guest speaker Niall Scholfield discussed living with FASD.