The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories will operate its annual IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimers virtually again this year. And although a virtual event is second-best to actually getting together, the society says the annual fundraiser has picked up steam.
“Last year we had to pivot the event to an online walk, which I’ll be really honest, I was nervous about. But we had a really good turnout last year,” said Lindsay Burnham, provincial lead of philanthropy for Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
“I thought it would be very challenging to morph it into an online event, but it turned out to be quite successful. People really enjoyed it. And what we found last year is that we were able to reach into more communities and more areas that we normally wouldn’t have walkers in, simply based on geography,” Burnham said.
“This year, we have already surpassed what we had registered and the funds that were raised at this time last year. So we’re about three times ahead in every category.”
There are more than 46,000 people in Alberta and the Northwest Territories that have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Many more—friends, family, caregivers—are affected.
The walk is an important annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society. The money raised goes toward education as well as directly providing services to people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
That work, Burnham said, is important.
“Everyone right now is feeling isolated because of Covid. But for people who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, their isolation doesn’t go away. They live with it all along the journey of dementia,” she said.
“So we’re all looking forward to Covid going away so we can kind of get back to whatever normal is going to look like and we won’t feel so isolated. But for these families and these individuals, that isolation continues.”
• Sign up individually, with your family, or create a team at WalkForAlzheimers.ca
• Take a photo or video, upload it to social media and include the hashtag #IGWalkForAlz.
• Join a live broadcast on the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories Facebook page on Sunday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m. (MDT) and share stories with walk participants across the country.
Among the services offered by the society is their First Link program, which reaches out to check in with dementia patients at certain points throughout their journey.
“We do regular followups and our staff are really there through the entire journey with the client—all the ups and downs, all of the pieces that they need to navigate with their changing condition and their life,” Burnham said.
“We have support groups and we have individual support. So it’s almost like your own personal counsellor, in a sense,” she said.
“We’ve got clients that we’ve been helping for over 20 years, so we’re really there for that entire journey for anyone who needs us.”
IG Wealth Management supports the walk on the national, regional, and local level. Joanne Willamson, their associate consultant in Cold Lake, said “I am proud to be part of a company that is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work.”
“The Alzheimer Society provides valuable supports and services to people living with dementia and their families right here in Cold Lake, as well as across Alberta and the Northwest Territories,” she said.
The big day is May 30, and “it’s not too late to register, to sign up, to fundraise, or even just to visit our website and make a gift,” Burnham said.