From Dream to Reality
Gary Hyland enriched many lives.
Throughout his life Gary Hyland was a firm believer in giving and sharing his many talents as a high school teacher, mentor, and writer. He volunteered for many arts-related pursuits in his home city of Moose Jaw, which included the creation of writers’ retreats and festivals, and establishing a cultural centre. His aspirations and activities bloomed the more he gave. As his involvement in arts activism increased, so did his giving through his establishment of the Gary Hyland Literary Scholarship Fund to benefit beginning writers. When he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, he found an additional focus. Gary Hyland wanted to help others dealing with an ALS diagnosis even after he was gone. Today the Gary Hyland ALS Fund at the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation helps support individuals with ALS in the Regina-based area and across the province through the ALS Society of Saskatchewan. ALS is a debilitating disease which can sometimes progress rapidly. There is no known cure. Eighty percent of those diagnosed only live for two to five years. Equipment such as canes and motorized wheelchairs are vital supports. With necessary equipment ranging from $100,000 to $150,000, the Gary Hyland ALS Fund provides essential financial assistance to supplement the ALS Society equipment loans fund. Denis Simard, Executive Director of the ALS Society says, “We really appreciate the support through this Fund. Every dollar counts and SSCF’s support means everything.” The goal is to always provide equipment for those diagnosed with ALS from the moment they are diagnosed. Thanks to Gary Hyland’s foresight and generous spirit there is more funding for equipment for those diagnosed with ALS to aid in their quality of life. Whether as an arts activist or ALS advocate, Gary Hyland enriched numerous people’s lives during his lifetime and continues to provide a lasting legacy through his funds. Today grants from the Gary Hyland ALS Fund make a beneficial impact and his dream of helping those diagnosed with ALS into the future has become a reality.
The Heart of Hyland
Gary Hyland was a distinguished high school teacher and gifted writer and editor, but perhaps mentoring writers and expressing his community spirit were where his passions soared the highest. He spearheaded the founding of numerous art and literary activities, and in Moose Jaw this includes events like the Saskatchewan Festival of Words and the creation of the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre. For his innovative teaching, volunteer work and community contributions Gary Hyland garnered several prestigious awards and accolades including the Order of Canada. When Gary Hyland was diagnosed with ALS, his desire to help writers learn their craft became stronger. He wanted a way to continue nurturing budding poets and authors after he was gone. In 2007, he advised on the criteria and establishment of the Gary Hyland Literary Scholarship Fund in partnership with the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, and Arts in Motion. He intended the Fund to support writers developing their craft through workshops or training with preference given to candidates who were Moose Jaw residents. Today the Fund supports emerging writer, or writers, to assist them in attending the Sage Hill Writing Experience’s summer session. The Sage Hill writing retreat was another of his inspired co-founding projects and dear to his heart. Although Gary Hyland passed in 2011, his ardent dream continues to flourish, benefiting and influencing emerging writers and their far-reaching audiences into the future. Not only was Gary an inspirational teacher and gifted writer, his many philanthropic achievements continue his spirit of life-long giving in numerous ways.