The Thorold resident knows all too well the devastating impact Alzheimer’s Disease can have, on both a patient and their loved ones.
“I’m here because my other half, Ken Adams, has Alzheimer’s,” she told ThoroldNews. “He’s been in a nursing home for seven years. He’s in a wheelchair and doesn’t know me.”
Still, she visits him once a week, and estimates this is her tenth time participating in the annual Walk for Alzheimer’s event.
“When Ken was first diagnosed, I took all the courses they offered (at the Alzheimer Society) and as it progressed, I knew what to expect,” she said. “I’m just here to support the Alzheimer Society. This year, I raised $2,330. It’s improving every year.”
According to Allan, “Too many in Niagara have it.”
The sad truth of this statement was evident in the sheer number of people who joined her along the indoor elevated track, many sporting team t-shirts in honour of loved ones.
Peter Scott organized a team who walked in memory of the late Bob White, a former president of the CAW and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
Calling White “an inspiration to a generation of labour activists,” Scott said, “Last year, we raised $50,000 so we encouraged UNIFOR locals to participate, and the money stays in this community. It’s a good way for us to raise awareness of dementia and pay tribute to Bob White.”
Prior to the event, multiple Niagara Music Awards winner Cory Cruise performed in the Ian Beddis gym, while Star Wars fans posed with costumed characters to raise money for the charity. Children enjoyed the Kids’ Zone, which offered free child care during the event, as well as face painting, Fluffy the Clown, and a mini playground.
A Wellness Fair featured booths providing information about dementia and associated services for seniors, such as Driving Miss Daisy, Nurse Next Door, Seniors on the Move, and therapy dogs, along with many others.
Regional chair Jim Bradley remarked that, “All of us in one way or another have been affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. We have all had it touch us in one way or another.”
St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik, who was described as a “long-time supporter” of the charity, thanked the society and its many supporters, as well as the St. Catharines Falcons Jr. B team for taking part in today’s walk.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to come together and show support for this prevailing disease,” added Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini.
Vic Kerschl, chair of the Alzheimer Society Niagara Foundation, thanked IG Wealth Management for being this year’s title sponsor, and for supporting the society for more than a decade, along with Avondale Food Stores for being a lead sponsor of the event.
Bob and Cathy Miller were recognized for being bronze level sponsors, and according to Kerschl, Bob is a founding member of the foundation, and a long-standing member of the board, who contributes “continuing financial support.”
“We started this foundation 14 years ago,” noted Miller, “and it’s become such an integral cause. I’m really proud of everything we’ve done. We have a lot more people and sponsorship. This event has really taken off,” he concluded, due in large part to the efforts of Alzheimer Society CEO Teena Kindt.
“She never gets enough credit but she has been the heart and soul of the Alzheimer Society,” he stated.
A fitness leader from the YMCA warmed up the crowd with aerobics to Latin music, before a bagpiper kick started the walk, which was one of nearly 300 similar events taking place across Canada in support of the disease.
More information is available at www.alzheimerniagara.ca