Maple Leafs great Borje Salming glad to have ‘Team Kirts’ on his side

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Former Leaf Mark Kirton, seen here at his home office in Oakville, was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. He is offering all his support to Leafs great Borje Salming after he too was diagnosed with the disease. LISA KIRTON PHOTO Article content

The outlook for those diagnosed with ALS can appear bleak, but a front-line forward such as Mark Kirton keeps referring to “the never-ending battle.”

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It was Kirton who stepped up to help Leafs great and former teammate Borje Salming after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in late July, an opportunity to help educate the public on a disease affecting 3,000 Canadians alone and almost 1,000 in Salming’s native Sweden.

“When you have someone getting it who is in hockey, as famous as Borje, it brings more attention,” said Kirton, who was given his own stunning ALS news in 2018. “(Ex-Leaf) Mike Gartner and I were speaking about Borje today and Mike told me he wasn’t sure exactly what ALS was until I had it.”

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Two years ago, wishing to share stories and personally frustrated at how long it took levels of government to approve drugs meant to slow the progression, Kirton called other PALS (People With ALS) to form ALS Action Canada.

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