riends and family mourn Alison Bennett

Tribute for former teacher

Alison Bennett will be remembered at Surrey's Walk for ALS in Bear Creek Park on June 15

When Alison Bennett learned that she was dying, the South Surrey woman was asked if there was anything she wanted to do, knowing that her time to do it was limited.

Her answer five years ago remains an inspiration.

“Alison said, no, she thought she already had the perfect life, and the perfect home, perfect husband and children, and all she wanted to do was have it last as long as possible,” friend Amanda Myring recalled of the conversation between Bennett and her sister-in-law, Rhonda Fuller.

“That in itself is amazing, that she was already living the way we all should live before she even knew that she was terminally ill.”

Bennett, a popular music teacher at Laronde Elementary until ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) forced her to quit in November 2009, died May 20 at Peace Arch Hospital. She was 50.

As family, friends, colleagues and former students prepare to say a final farewell at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre Saturday, Myring recalled a woman who refused to let a cruel disease kill her spirit.

“It definitely taught me to be grateful and not sweat the small stuff,” Myring said.

ALS is a progressive, incurable disease that destroys the body while leaving its victim’s mind unscathed. It attacks motor neurons that transmit electrical impulses from the brain to the muscles. The muscles eventually die, robbing patients of the ability to walk, talk and eventually, breathe.

Some sufferers live only three to six months after diagnosis; most live three to five.

Bennett was diagnosed in February 2009, after experiencing difficulty in her hands months before. ALS quickly stole her ability to talk, walk and swallow.

Myring said from the beginning, Bennett told her she saw ALS as a “dark force” that she pictured herself yelling at to stay away, and over the course of her short journey, she never gave up. Myring is certain it was Bennett’s attitude that enabled her to live as long as she did with the disease – long enough to share in the birth and first birthday of Myring’s daughter, Adrienne.

And it was Bennett’s husband, Dave’s, “amazing strength and patience” that kept the mother of two out of the hospital for all but two days of it, Myring said.

Saturday’s service gets underway at 1 p.m., and will include a song performed by former students of Bennett’s, along with speakers and a slideshow.

Victory Memorial is located at 14831 28 Ave. In lieu of flowers, donations to the ALS Society of B.C. are appreciated.

As further tribute to Bennett, dozens are expected to participate in next week’s Walk for ALS, June 15 at Bear Creek Park. The fundraiser has been a tradition in recent years, and Myring expects this year to be particularly meaningful to those who knew Bennett.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read

l -->