Laronde Elementary Grade 7 students Danielle Deslauriers and Kirsten Griffiths sort through containers at a bottle drive to raise money for the ALS Society of B.C.

Laronde Elementary Grade 7 students Danielle Deslauriers and Kirsten Griffiths sort through containers at a bottle drive to raise money for the ALS Society of B.C.

Students’ can-do attitude supports teacher with ALS

Eighteen months after having to quit her post teaching music at Laronde Elementary, Alison Bennett continues to inspire.

Last week, that inspiration resulted in the collection of hundreds of bottles and cans that translated into $676 for the ALS Society of B.C. – an amount that pushed organizers of Team Laronde past their goal of raising $4,000 in Bennett’s honour.

“I think we can reach it,” grinned Hannah Jiwani, as students, parents and teachers worked to organize empties dropped off during the afternoon bottle drive.

“Our goal was originally $1,000. We were collecting so much that I had to raise it.”

Jiwani, in Grade 9 at Earl Marriott Secondary, took music with Bennett at Laronde and was a main character in the last performance Bennett directed at the school before ALS (Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis) forced her to quit.

The 48-year-old was diagnosed with the progressive and incurable neuromuscular disease in February 2009. Its symptoms first presented in her hands, and progressed to the point that she had to give up teaching the following November. Over the past year, it has stolen Bennett’s ability to walk and talk.

But it has yet to break her spirit.

Bennett is “incredibly strong,” friend and former colleague Amanda Myring said. “Really, really stubborn, but in a good way.”

Myring is among about two dozen students, staff and parents who have signed on to Team Laronde – formed by Jiwani – to participate in the June 11 Walk for ALS.

Jiwani, who is a close friend of Bennett’s son, Ian, is determined to help find a cure.

“Ms. Bennett was very close to me,” she said, noting her uncle is also living with the disease. “They’re this close to finding a cure and I want to be part of it.”

The Surrey Walk for ALS takes place June 11. Donations may be made at; click on ‘make a pledge’ and search for Team Laronde.


Just Posted

Rahim Manji owns and operates the Hollywood 3 Cinemas in Newton, along with the Caprice in South Surrey, a theatre in Duncan and another in Pitt Meadows. “I think right now it feels different than last June, it just does,” Manji said. “I’m a lot more optimistic, with more people calling, more people out and getting vaccinated, so I think the comfort level is a lot better.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey movie theatre operators reopen and rejoice, even with 50-max capacity

‘We have been one of the hardest-hit industries’

A sign warning of a pack of coyotes hangs near 2660 Croydon Dr. (Aaron Hinks photo)
South Surrey woman sounds alarm after encounter with pack of coyotes

Susan Martin said three full-grown coyotes were lurking around her home

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police searching for Surrey woman missing at Centennial Beach

Wenyan Lan, 54, reported missing when she didn’t come home from a crabbing/clam digging trip June 14

Ian MacDonald, spokesman for Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service launches public consultation campaign

This is to help the SPS form its first strategic plan

Outdoor vendors at the Cloverdale Flea Market are seen in this bird’s eye view image from the flea market’s Facebook page.
Cloverdale Flea Market to reopen

Market to open June 20 after being closed since Nov. 2020

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read