Adrian Sutherland

Samaritanmag

Music-heavy news site about charities, causes and good deeds

Band The New Pornographers Asks Fans To Contribute To ALS Society

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The New PornographersThe CD booklet inside Canadian indie pop-rock band The New Pornographer’s latest album, Together, has a message “in memory of Lynn Calder — please contribute to the ALS Society of Canada.”

Lynn is singer-keyboardist Kathryn Calder’s mother and the half-sister of the band’s founder and main songwriter, Carl Newman (a.k.a. A.C. Newman).

“My mom died of ALS last year so I’ve donated lots of money,” Calder tells Samaritanmag.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disorder, which causes paralysis due to degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.  In North America, it is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to figures on www.als.ca, 80 percent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis, unable to breathe or swallow. Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians currently live with ALS.

“It’s a really horrible disease and there’s no cure, so money is needed for research,” says Calder. “There’s so much disability that goes along with it. People need a lot of really expensive equipment because they’re paralyzed. Support systems are also needed for families who are struggling to cope with somebody who was basically a fully functioning individual and then, within a year, can’t walk or talk. It’s pretty tough.”

Last year, on Labour Day weekend, The New Pornographers spearheaded the Stanley Park Singing Exhibition in Vancouver, a two-night music festival at the Malkin Bowl. “Half of the money went to ALS society and half of the money went to the Urban Native Youth Association [www.unya.bc.ca] and that was really nice to do.

“It’s always really nice to feel like you’re giving back. Everybody says that, but it is,” says Calder.

Newman says he’d like the band to do another one of those concerts.

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Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.