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Keep on walkin' in the free world

Alycia Douglass

Published on May 6, 2017

Roman MacDonald and Shelley Vaillancourt of the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall & District were sheltered from the weather at the annual Walk for Alzheimer's this Saturday. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - Participants walked on, despite the moody weather at the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall & District’s annual Walk for Alzheimer’s.

The event was held at the Benson Centre this year to ensure that spring showers couldn’t dampen the walk. Campaign and Volunteer Coordinator, Roman MacDonald also said that this year, the organization wanted to make the event as accessible as possible.

“We wanted a venue that could accommodate as many people as possible but still allow for them to stay out of the weather, and give access to people who aren’t as mobile,” said MacDonald.

Planning for the event has been underway since Dec. and MacDonald says that the event’s chief focus was community, which is the greatest asset to someone living with the illness.

“Cornwall has made such huge strides in dementia care in accommodating those living with dementia, as well as their families,” said MacDonald.

Executive Director, Shelley Vaillancourt says that communities are the pillars which help support those living with dementia.

“It’s time to get rid of the stigma and talk openly about dementia,” said Vaillancourt. “It’s not just the person who has the disease, or the primary caregiver, it’s the whole family and the whole community.”

Following last year’s success, MacDonald says that the organization began looking into areas of improvement which could be incorporated into this year’s event. One of the things that really stood out to them was the Wall of Memories, which was initiated in Montreal.

“We encourage people to bring photographs and write their names or the names of their loved ones,” said MacDonald. “At the end of the day, we commemorate each one of the people we walked for during the event.”

While the event itself is organized in efforts to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research, MacDonald says it goes deeper.

“It’s about getting the community together in one place, raising awareness and saying ‘this is something we need to do together,’” said MacDonald.