A North Sydney couple whose grandson became an activist for people living with muscular dystrophy says their hearts are warmed by a school’s donation in his memory.
Students at Ferrisview Elementary began collecting flip tabs from aluminum cans several years ago to support a campaign by 18-year-old Daniel Arsenault and his sister Rebecca.
Ferrisview teacher’s assistant Janet Wilkie pushed the project along because her sister is a family friend of Arsenault’s grandparents, Jean and Alfred Landry.
Wilkie has been collecting tabs for Arsenault since he was four years old.
“This means the world to us,” said Jean Landry. “Daniel passed away in December. They did the same thing in New Glasgow and his mother said it was a way of healing for her to go there. It means a lot to us.”
- The program began under the leadership of Janet Wilkie
- The collection of aluminum can tabs runs throughout the school year
- The tabs are given to the family Daniel Arsenault, an 18-year-old Trenton, Pictou County, teenager who died in December following a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy
- Pop tabs help provide wheelchairs to children across the province
Arsenault died suddenly on Dec. 7, roughly 14 years after being diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A display featuring photographs of Arsenault can be found at the North Sydney school.
“His loss was mourned by our school population,” said Wilkie. “Daniel continues to inspire so many, and all of these children who have never even met Daniel continue acts of kindness in his memory.”
Aluminum tabs collected and then melted down to make wheelchairs for children.
Duchenne is a severe type of muscular dystrophy. Muscle weakness usually begins around age four in boys and quickly worsens.
There is currently no cure for the disease.
As part of their efforts, Ferrisview school had a large Plexiglas tank made for students to drop off pop tabs.
The tank is now being fixed after it was recently overwhelmed with student donations.
On Friday, members of the Monique Buffet’s Grade 5 class at Ferrisview Elementary presented the Landrys with collected aluminum tabs.
The students also unveiled two buddy benches made by their teacher and dedicated on their behalf in Arsenault’s memory.
Wilkie said in addition to the school’s current students, former pupil Abby Ronayne continues to drop off garbage bags full of tabs collected with the help of her family.
- North Sydney students collect tabs for Daniel
- Bench unveiled in honour of Daniel Arsenault at Trenton Middle School
- 'He brought the light to people with a smile': Muscular dystrophy activist Daniel Arsenault, 18, mourned
- Upcoming performance of The Hockey Monologues will be dedicated to Daniel Arsenault
- More than $22,000 raised by Pictou County firefighters for MD