Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) day has been proclaimed for this Friday, September 9th.
Co-chair of the Portage and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Coalition Barry Rud met with Portage Mayor Irvine Ferris at city hall to make the proclamation.
"As part of that, we wanted to bring some awareness to folks in the community about just how prevalent FASD is," says Rud. "Part of that proclamation indicated that, probably, if you follow the Canadian stats, about 4 per cent of our population is impacted. That means that we likely have somewhere on the order of 500 residents of Portage la Prairie that are impacted to some degree by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder."
He explains that their main objective is for people to understand that this sort of alcohol use during pregnancy in any amount is of concern.
"Really, there is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed that is known," continues Rud. "What we know is that less is good, but none is better. And the other thing we know is that it's never too late to either go for less or none. Unfortunately, sometimes people discover that they're pregnant after they've consumed alcohol, not knowing that they were expecting. So, it's bringing that awareness to people that it's important if you know you have consumed alcohol earlier on, that even though that may not be what you'd like to do, it's not too late to either stop drinking or reduce drinking."
Rud says they approached the city asking if it was possible to light up a local landmark in Portage with the colour red, and you can now see the island bridge lights coloured red.
"There's a big international movement to light up natural, iconic monuments," adds Rud. "The CN Tower and Manitoba Legislature are all going to be lit up in red for FASD day. We asked the city about whether or not it was possible to change the lighting on the new island park bridge. We are going to be one of the first, if not the first, to change the lights for the week. This is part of the 'Rocking Red For FASD' promotion. Selkirk, I believe, has got their water tower lit up, and the Winnipeg sign is being lit up."
He says they're once again having a food truck along with games, prizes and giveaways as they did in previous years.
"This year, we've changed our location a bit," adds Rud. "We are going to be in the lot that also houses the Farmers Market across from the Dairy Queen. That will be this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. We are going to have a couple of food trucks there -- 'Nacho Mom's Tacos,' who hail out of MacGregor. We're also having the 'Gotta Have that Lemonade,' who will be with us. There will be a return of the Putt For Prizes games as well as other draws and events happening. It should be a fun day. Hopefully, we'll get another day as nice as we had last year for it."