Formation supports ALS research

Members of Formation Halifax, including RAdm John Newton, Commander MARLANT and JTFA, lift up PO2 William Duff for the #ALSLift Challenge prior to a Formation run on June 15.
Photo: Ryan Melanson/Trident Staff

Formation runners ‘Give a Lift’ in support of ALS

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

The latest Formation Run/Walk was held on the morning of June 15 as part of the MARLANT Health and Wellness Strategy, but with an added twist in support of a sailor recently diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

The hundreds of members gathered in front of D201 for the run also participated in the ‘Give a Lift for ALS’ challenge, a social media campaign that encourages supporters to lift a friend in the air for a photo and share it on social media with the hashtag #ALSlift, while nominating three others to do the same. It’s a follow-up to the successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that raised millions for the cause in 2014.

Some took individual photos for the campaign with FIS photographers on site, and then all gathered for a group photo where a number of members held up PO2 William Duff. PO2 Duff is a MESO with more than 10 years of service, who has sailed on both coasts and is currently employed at MOG 5. He is married to a service spouse, has two young children, and was recently diagnosed with ALS.

“He’s one of us, so we’re doing this for one of our own and to show support for the fight against ALS,” said CPO1 John Wilson, Coxn of the Fleet Health and Welfare Champion unit HMCS Halifax.

Batman and the Easter Bunny also took part in the #ALSLift challenge.
Photo: Cpl J.W.S Houck, FIS Halifax

Information about donating to ALS research was also available, and more fundraising information can be found at – 100% of the money raised will fund the most innovative ALS research through the Adaptive Canuck ALS Foundation, a charitable foundation managed by Canadian patients and families living with the disease.

Following the ALS Challenge, the group ran through HMC Dockyard and along the Halifax boardwalk to promote health and fitness in the fleet. Cdr Geoffrey Steed, the CO of HMCS Halifax, said the runs are going to get more frequent with the onset of nicer weather.

“This is about a culture shift in the Navy, and I can’t overemphasize how important it is that we do this and that we focus on the health and wellness of our sailors.”