Being a Royalwood resident has its advantages. For Victor Perrin, living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), those benefits make all the difference in his life.
Perrin first developed ALS symptoms in 2005. The disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate.
This loss of motor neurons leads to progressive paralysis of the voluntary muscles. The ability to walk, get in and out of bed, and complete everyday tasks can disappear rapidly.
Once he was diagnosed with ALS, Perrin, and his family, knew they needed to plan for the future.
"When we bought our Royalwood condo, we had very little renovations to do. The doorways and hallways were already wide and spacious, with so much natural light. The sunroom is my favourite part of the house."
ALS has brought changes to Perrin’s day-to-day life, requiring adaptations to his home.
"Since I stopped using a walker and started using a wheelchair, we’ve installed lift equipment in the condo. For instance, we decided on a lift in the garage instead of a ramp in the front. We enjoy entertaining, and I have daily home care. Still, we have a great deal of space."
The beautiful surroundings are another reason Perrin and his family chose to live in the neighbourhood.
"I thoroughly enjoy the paved pathways in the Bois-des-Esprits next to the Seine River. The wildlife and the spirit carvings make the Bois a special place. The best time of year is the spring, when you can tell that people are happy to be outdoors."
According to the ALS Society, more than 200 Manitobans live with ALS. Its cause remains unknown. There is no cure for ALS; and no proven therapy that will prevent or reverse the course of the fatal disease.
"I’ve been fortunate that the ALS has progressed slowly," Perrin says. "It’s given my wife and family time to adjust."
Perrin and his family appreciate Royalwood’s quiet and safe residential streets, and caring neighbours, as "everyone you meet is friendly and pleasant".
"We have good proximity to stores and services, everything is a short drive away," adds Perrin. In March 2013, that proximity became a very serious matter.
"I had a heart attack. The fire and paramedic services were here within minutes," recounts Perrin. "They got me to St. Boniface Hospital and in the operating room in 36 minutes. They basically saved my life.
"Living in Royalwood is wonderful."