On January 21, residents and community groups will head to Brock University’s campus to participate in the Niagara Region’s 14th annual Walk for Alzheimer’s. The event is put together by the Alzheimer Society of the Niagara Region, and raises funds for services provided by their organization to the community. Registration for the walk will began at 9:30 a.m., and the event is set to conclude at 1:00 p.m. Funds for the Society are raised by donations and pledges collected by those taking part in the Walk.
According to the Society, almost 10.000 individuals in the region are living with dementia, which, in 64 per cent of cases, is caused by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Terry McDougall, who is director of fund development for the Society, explained that the event takes place in January in order to coincide with Alzheimer Awareness Month across the country. 25,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia every year. McDougall spoke about how the walk is vital to the success of the society in the region and how it assists with awareness and understanding of the disease.
“It brings together individuals, families, friends, care partners and concerned community members touched by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” McDougall explained.
“Participants of all ages walk as individuals or members of teams. They represent corporations, local business, neighbourhoods, community groups, families and friends. Participants solicit pledges and raise funds that stay right here in Niagara to support the vital programs and support services offered by the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region.”
“Our event boasts plenty of camaraderie, entertainment, activities for all ages and a raffle table,” McDougall elaborated. He also spoke on how the event was a way to pass along information about living a healthy lifestyle that can prevent the onset of the disease.
“We provide information focused around strategies to keeping your brain healthy and activities that draw attention to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and the effects of this chronic disease.
We also feature stations along the walk route that showcase and deliver health-related information and product samples for maintaining a healthy brain through diet, social activities and physical exercise.”
One of the community groups involved in the walk will be Unifor, the largest private-sector labour union in Canada. Unifor’s Niagara Organizing Office and Local 199 in St. Catharines will be involved in the event. Rick Alakas, a national representative with the Organizing team, spoke about how the team hopes to raises thousands for research this year with their efforts.
“Every year in communities across Canada, 173 Walks for Alzheimer’s are held,” Alakas explained. “Locally, we help raise thousands of dollars every year in Niagara. This year the Niagara Organizing Office, in partnership with Local 199, is building a team for the next Walk, and we plan to significantly increase the amount of funds raised as a tribute to Bob White.” Bob White was the former president of the Canadian Auto Workers, the predecessor to Unifor, and was an influential and charismatic leader in the Canadian labour movement. White was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and passed away in early 2017.
Last year, the Walk on Brock campus managed to generate upwards of $85,000 for the Society in Niagara. On behalf of the Society, McDougall implored members of the community to get involved with the event.
“Join us and help us make memories matter and send a message of hope to the 9,855 individuals in the Niagara Region living with dementia, and all those who care for them.”
The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. on the 21 after registration ends, and will take place at the Ian Beddis Gym and the Art & Val Fleming Commons Entrance. To register as a group or individual and raise funds, visit walkforalzheimers.ca.