Red shoes, no booze. That's the message the FASD wants to use.
Portage la Prairie has proclaimed September Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month. FASD is a disorder that impacts children during pregnancy when the mother consumes alcohol. According to the Government of Canada, in 2019, the prevalence of FASD in Canadian youth aged 1 - 17 was one per 1,000.
Barry Rud with the Portage and Area FASD Coalition says September was chosen to be FASD Awareness Month as it's the ninth month of the year, coinciding with nine months of pregnancy. He mentions that the city will also light up the causeway on September 9th.
"Sometimes, (FASD) can interfere with things like balance, impulsiveness," mentions Rud. "A lot of times, if not properly caught, it can end up with folks being incarcerated. They're at risk for addiction and mental health issues as well."
Rud adds one way you can show your support is to wear red shoes if you have them. He explains that the trend started when a young person with FASD decided to wear them to draw attention to the disorder.
They'll also be holding an event on Tuesday, September 5th, to teach Portagers about the effects of FASD.
"We're going to be set up in the lot right across from the Dairy Queen where the farmer's market typically is," says Rud. "We've done similar events in past years. This year, we've got food trucks, we'll have a fire truck, and we're going to have about a dozen participants displaying their information."
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PortageOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PortageOnline app.