By Mark Squibb | Vol 7 No. 20 (Oct. 24, 2019)
Greg O’Grady, chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association (NLSA), was in Mount Pearl City Hall Oct. 15 as the City declared Oct. 22 International Stuttering Awareness Day in the City of Mount Pearl.
O’Grady, a Gander native, organised “A Million Things I Need to Say”, a fundraising walk and run in 2012 while living in Ontario as a means of giving back to the Speech and Stuttering Institute of Toronto, where he had received treatment.
Upon retiring and returning home to Newfoundland in 2017, he was inspired to keep up the work he had begun in Ontario, and organised the province’s first “A Million Things I Need to Say” run in St. John’s in September of 2018 in support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NLASLPA).
Shortly after, O’Grady was a core member of a small group of about seven who formed the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association (NLSA) that November to better serve the stuttering community.
That group received charity status in August.
“We are fairly new, but thanks to the City of Mount Pearl you’ve really been sort of our rock and helped us form a foundation. So we’re very appreciative,” O’Grady thanked the City for their support.
“Our mandate at the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association is advocacy and support … So far, we’re making some good inroads,” O’Grady later added.
There’s a lot coming up this November, including the Speech-Language Pathologist Educational Day on Nov. 1, and Finding Our Voice, the first of the annual conferences.
Councillor Andrea Power, also a board member of the association, spoke to the proclamation.
“I just want to say, what a wonderful experience it’s been for me to get involved with this organization over the last year.
Power attended last years run on behalf of the mayor.
“I was really inspired by how Greg took his message from Toronto and brought it home to Newfoundland.”
Shortly after, she joined the board.
“We’ve been meeting monthly, and making some great progress, and being able to achieve charitable status in less than a year I think is amazing.
“I can’t say enough about Greg for really leading the charge on this organization as a whole. And I think it’s going to make a huge difference in the lives of people whoa are affected by stuttering.”
Stuttering affects roughly one per cent of the population, according to the NLSA— about 70 million people world wide, and 350,000 Canadians.