Western Branch represents Ataxia Canada in the western provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC and promotes membership and directs funds to research through Ataxia Canada to ultimately discover and support treatments for a variety of types of ataxia.

We work to raise awareness about ataxia, clarify information about the types of ataxias and about Ataxia Canada to the western audience, primarily in English. With English-only web pages (housed on the Ataxia Canada’s website), we will reach out to those living with ataxia in the west with information, guidance and understanding.

While we do not presently have a support group we are happy to refer people with ataxia in Western Canada to local support groups.


Western Branch’s mission is to provide information and resources to people with ataxia where they live and to continue to fund the best possible research. Supporters can now feel confident knowing research dollars will go to projects screened by an official national organization and be eligible for a Canadian tax receipt.


westBrendaDixionBrenda Dixon – President

Brenda was born in Montreal and moved to Vancouver, BC in 1968. She has Friedreich’s Ataxia. Brenda knew of Claude St. Jean Foundation in her last years in Montreal, and she had the pleasure of meeting Claude when he visited Vancouver in the 70’s.

Brenda is proud to be part of the team that forms the Western Branch of Ataxia Canada.

westFionaJacksonFiona Jackson – Vice-President

Fiona Jackson’s family has SCA1. She was tested in 1998 and does not have the gene. She is committed to the goals of Ataxia Canada and funding the best research to improve understanding about the ataxias, and giving hope to everyone affected and touched by it.



westElaineWillisElaine Willis – Member at Large

Elaine’s career as a teacher was interrupted by an injury exacerbated by a hereditary ataxia. Although her family’s gene has been isolated, no research has yet been conducted so she remains in the SCA? at this time.

She volunteers her time and skills within her community and is proud to be part of the new Ataxia Canada West team.


westNeilDobsonNeil Dobson – Member at Large

Neil is originally from the UK.

After getting a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry in late 2001; he left in 2002 to move to Seattle to take up a position at the University of Washington and then in 2007 relocated to Vancouver.

Neil tested positive for SCA III (Machado Joseph Disease) in 1999 and has been fairly asymptomatic since. He now works as an RNA biochemist at Simon Fraser University


westColinBussColin Buss – Vancouver Island Representative

Colin Buss is a professional forester living in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. He has SCA1 and has been symptomatic since about 2005. He hopes to raise the profile of the ataxias among the population and help find a cure.




westKamaSolesKama Soles – Saskatchewan Representative

Kama Soles recently completed her Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan in the area of disability and co-operatives. Prior to this, she worked as a community coordinator for the North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre, and was involved on many boards and committees, including DAWN (DisAbled Womens’ Network) Canada, the Saskatchewan Advisory Council on Disability Issues, and the Saskatoon Independent Living Co-operative.


westChristineToppingChristine Topping – Alberta Representative