By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – In the race to find a cure and spread awareness, dozens impacted by a silent disease fought back with their every step at the annual charity march for the Cornwall & District Alzheimer Society.
© Adam Brazeau
Over $20,000 was raised for the Cornwall District Alzheimer Society's 'Walk for Memories' on Jan. 19.
This year's top fundraising family collected $2,745 for the local Alzheimer Society's 'Walk for Memories' event.
For Vicky Tait, the money raised paid tribute to her beloved father, Clayton Shaver. He tragically passed away in early January after battling Alzheimer's for 16 years.
"Unfortunately, this year is a little bittersweet for us," said Tait, standing with a tight grip around her daughter, Camden.
She praised the Alzheimer Society for constantly helping her and her family throughout their journey with the disease.
"There's an abundance of resources to be had. I don't think my dad would've been able to stay at home as many years as he did with Alzheimer's without the support of the Society and the wonderful caseworkers that are there," said Tait.
Cornwall Alzheimer Society president Nicole Giroux-Laplante said 883 families have accessed their services over the last nine months. She acknowledged that Alzheimer Awareness Month is halfway done, and stressed the importance of getting yourself diagnosed before the disease sets in.
"I'm a firm believer that without proper awareness early diagnosis wouldn't be possible," said Laplante.
Sherry Davis, Alzheimer Society event organizer, was so impressed with the final amount raised she had to check it twice before announcing to a crowd of over 75 at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
"Thanks to all your support this year's Walk for Memories has raised $20,642," said Davis.
Donations will help fund peer support groups, a day away program, one-on-one support and ongoing research.
Three more events will also be taking place in the region next weekend.
On Saturday, Jan. 25 there will be a charity march from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland. This will be followed by a Zumbathon at the Char Lan Recreation Centre in Williamstown. Then the last big push for funds is Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Tim Hortons Dome in Alexandria, with performers Fridge Full of Empties.
Donations can be made here, if you're unable to make it to any of the events but want to support participants.
For more information, visit www.alzheimer.ca/cornwall.