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From tragedy, a new purpose

Kinga Njilas was in her third year at York University when her mother began to die of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Kinga Njilas was in her third year at York University when her mother began to die of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In the four unimaginable years that followed, this only child of Serbian immigrants handled tragedy with such grace and surprising candour that she has won international kudos for spreading awareness of the day-to-day challenge of a disease that shows no mercy as it breaks down the nerve cells of the brain and spine.

She started an annual soccer fundraiser which raised $7,000 this year, and is helping organize a youth retreat outside Toronto this fall to brainstorm ways to help Canadian children who lose a parent to the fatal disease.

“This is my therapy,” she says. “I’m not trying to be a hero but there’s just not much awareness of ALS out there. We need more.”

 
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