René Gendron and Angie Moore thank the public for their support as the MS Society closes its doors in Vernon. (Submitted)

MS Society closes North Okanagan doors

After 20 years of service, the local group is no longer

From a grateful group of staff and volunteers, we at the Vernon MS Society would like to express our heartfelt thank you to the North Okanagan for all of its generous support over the years.

If you are not yet aware, the Vernon MS Society has closed its doors after 20 years of service in this community.

I, Rene Gendron, was diagnosed with MS in 1978. I have acted as president of the Vernon MS Society, on and off, for more than 15 years.

The Vernon MS Society became a legal society in 1999 with about 30 members.

When I moved into Vernon in 1991, there was an existing society called the Reaching Out MS Society.

There as also an MS support group organized by a woman named Joyce Moore.

Joyce was a lady who moved to Vernon from 100 Mile House after being diagnosed with MS—a true country girl who wanted no part of politics.

I couldn’t say “no” when she asked me to represent her support group at their monthly meetings.

I met with Reaching Out MS Society representing the Vernon MS support group, but I got tired of their ways when they got mad at me for showing off my plaque to the Vernon Support Group before showing it to them. (My sister-in-law walked with her husband in the Kamloops MS Walk and won the best team award in the MS Walk in Kamloops for funds raised. Their team was called TEAM RENE).

READ MORE: Grand Parade walk for MS comes to Vernon

The Vernon Support Group wanted to walk the following year in Vernon to raise funds and the Reaching Out MS Society said ‘No Way!’

We had a few meetings we decided our members should separate and do our own things.

Reaching Out moved to Salmon Arm and we formed the Vernon MS Society. We opened our drop-in centre at People Place.

We had trained peer counsellors, books and educational meetings.

We helped newly diagnosed MS people. We helped with purchases of needed medical equipment, and we helped with LifeLine and transportation to doctors and the MS clinic in Kelowna.

We enjoyed a great 20 years.

We had an annual Christmas Dinner at the Village Green Hotel that was free for all members and their children and grandchildren.

That got too expensive and we had to move to the Eagles Hall.

We held an annual pot luck lunch at Kin Beach, free to all members and guests.

We had a pot-luck lunch every fourth Thursday at People Place to socialize and compare notes.

I guess you could say we were an ideal MS support group with a charity number too.

We also purchased batteries for electric wheelchairs at half the price of medical stores.

Damn, we were good!

In later years funds were getting harder to come by.

We relied on a good office manager to keep us operating, and donations from the Vernon Lions, Eagles Ladies Auxiliary, Army-Navy Air Force, Bookland, Kal Tire and various generous people.

I was called a good president, but the office managers and the generosity of so many people that kept us going deserve the credit.

I was getting too tired and nobody wanted to step in and I had to resign.

I got to meet a lot of people and I made a lot of friends along the way.

Thanks for all your help. I am proud of what we did on our 20-year run.

I met a lot of wonderful people that I will never forget.

We will still meet and talk to newly diagnosed MS people with male or female counsellors through our peer support group.

For information on the MS peer support group, please call Independent Living at the People Place in Vernon. 250-545-9292

Thank you for all your support.

Rene Gendron

READ MORE: MS Walk spreads support


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

I’m Just Saying: Our society needs a re-sex education lesson

Jordyn Thomson is a reporter with the Western News

PIB to host new by-election after successful appeal of 2017 results

On Dec. 13, the membership voted to host a new by-election

UPDATE: Busy lineup of live performances this winter at Penticton’s Cannery Brewing

Musicians like Ari Neufeld will be perfoming at the brewery throughout December and January

Two public washrooms now closed in Penticton due to vandalism

The city is urging residents to report vandalism – found or ongoing – of public property

Penticton city council forced to make tough calls with grant applications

The city received 43 applications totalling $993,000 but could only approve about 55 per cent

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Wagon wheels can now be any size: B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Vernon airport prepares for plane crashes

Several agencies practised emergency response in tabletop exercise

‘Miscommunication’ behind Frosty takedown in Vernon

Bylaw working with owners to get permits in place for holiday decoration, city says

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

LETTER: Universal pharmacare program needed

Millions of Canadians are waiting for this historic step

LETTER: Support needed to eradicate polio

As long as it exists the disease can suddenly erupt and spread anywhere

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read