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UTSC student awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteer work

UTSC student Alex Harold (centre) is flanked by Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East and Corneliu Chisu, MP for Pickering-Scarborough East, after being presented with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Alex Harold has an impressive goal. He wants to relegate muscular dystrophy to the dustbin of medical history.   

For his tireless volunteer work and fundraising efforts towards this goal, the second-year UTSC management co-op student was recently awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The medal, which was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, is given to deserving Canadians in honour of significant contributions to their community.

“It struck me as an extreme honour when I received the medal,” says Harold. “It was just really exciting to be recognized.”

Harold was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 1997 at the age of four. Duchenne is one of more 100 different forms of muscular dystrophy and is characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of voluntary muscles that control body movement.

As one of 50,000 Canadians affected by the disease, Harold is deeply committed to raising awareness and funding for research into finding a cure. He first became involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada in 2003 through the Pickering Firefighter boot drive. He has spoken at numerous MDC functions. He also led Team Alex, a group of family and friends, in fundraising efforts for the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and is co-organizer of the Pickering Terry Fox Run.

“Even though I am living with a disability I just try to go out and help my community as best I can,” he says. “By educating the public and raising awareness, it also gives me hope.”

Harold isn’t sure what the future holds for him, but he is looking into becoming an accountant following graduation. In the meantime he is committed to finishing school and continuing his work with Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

“You hear about new cancer treatments all the time,” he says. “My hope is for the same thing to happen for muscular dystrophy.”

© University of Toronto Scarborough