Several groups got together in Muskoseepi Park Wednesday to help raise awareness and ease the stigma surrounding those suffering from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
“We know there are 1.5 million people affected in Canada and those numbers are increasing,” says Northwest Peace FASD Network Executive Director Gwen Vekved.
September 9th marks FASD Awareness Day around the world to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and the challenges facing individuals and families who struggle with it. The day was chosen to remind people on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.
The walk through Muskoseepi Park was also an opportunity to educate people who want to know more about the disability. It’s something Vekved says is more important now than ever.
“When we look at people with addictions and alcohol, whether that be in college or everyday life, FASD numbers are increasing. It passes through freely to the unborn child, so we know that is more damaging than hard drug use.”
Vekved says the hope for those involved is to simply ensure that all mothers with FASD are treated well, as she firmly believes no one would wantingly do damage to their child.
“Stigma is a harsh reality with this disability, and we want to ensure people who are affected… are treated well.”
According to the provincial government, FASD is the leading known cause of developmental disability in Canada. An estimated 4 per cent of Canadians have FASD, which means there are approximately 174,000 Albertans affected.