Castlegar residents are being asked to show their support to those battling with Alzheimer by participating in an annual fundraiser.
The event, Investors Group Walk for Memories is taking place in Nelson, but organizers are hoping it can become a West Kootenay tradition.
The walk — taking place January 25 — is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia and aims to raise funds and awareness for all types of dementia.
In addition, the walk is a great way to support friends and family who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Julie Leffelaar, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of BC is inviting people from Castlegar, Trail, Grand Forks and Nelson to come and participate.
“This walk has traditionally been only Nelson,” Leffelaar said. “Which is terrible, because there are people in all these towns who don’t know there are other people going through what they’re going through. The most important thing is to know that you’re not alone.”
The walk begins at 305 Hall Street at 11 a.m. and is finished at noon. There will be refreshments and food afterwards.
“You’re alone in the house usually. Alone with the person who has dementia,” Leffelaar continued. “So your life is gone and you feel like you’re the only one doing this. When these people get together they realize how nice it is to be with other people in a common situation.”
Each of the Walks is dedicated to an Honoree — a person who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
This year, the Honorees are Margo Read and her husband Bob.
Leffelaar said Margo Read was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease around 10 years ago.
After her diagnosis, Margo and Bob accessed education from the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in order to learn more about her dementia.
In particular, Bob found the caregivers support group helpful for hearing shared experiences on caring for loved ones.
While the walk is for those with dementia and money can be donated, it isn’t necessarily exclusive to those who will donate.
Leffelaar said the walk is for the sake of families as well.
“If you have a grandpa with Alzheimer’s there’s not much you can do for him. But if you and your mom and your sister can come to a walk you feel like you’re doing something together. And I’m talking not raising a dollar, you still feel like you’re doing something.”
Currently, 70,000 British Columbians are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
While there is no known cure and the exact cause is unknown, age is a factor and the society claims that the risk of developing dementia doubles every five years after age 65.
“Dementia comes in so many forms,” Leffelaar added. “It’s like going to the doctor and saying, ‘I have a cough.’ What kind of cough?”
There are about 40 different kinds of dementia with Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent.
Leffelaar is gladly accepting any questions and comments regarding the walk or a need for assistance. She is also hoping to organize a bus ride or car pool for anyone interested in attending, but is too far away to make it on their own.
To contact Julie Leffelaar please call (250) 365-6769 or email her at JLeffelaar@alzheimerbc.org.