Madam Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to an inspiring constituent in Barrie by the name of Derek Walton. In May 2002, Derek was diagnosed with ALS.
In Canada, approximately 3,000 people are currently diagnosed with ALS, over half a million worldwide. ALS is the most common cause of neurological death on an annual basis.
Derek helps organize our annual ALS walks in Barrie and raises funds for ALS at Barrie's dragon boat festival. Derek has raised tens of thousands of dollars and his enthusiasm is contagious in Barrie. Our walk this year was the largest ever.
Recently, Derek represented all neurological patients in Canada at a ceremony at the MaRS Centre in Toronto and accepted a cheque for $15 million from our health minister to help neurological charities in Canada develop their action plan.
Despite being in a wheelchair, Derek actually insisted in skydiving on August 22 to raise funds and awareness for ALS. He is a remarkable man, a good friend, and I am honoured to have such a distinguished Canadian live in the city of Barrie.