A walk around Gillies Lake set a new fundraising record on Saturday.
About 50 participants raised a total of $4,323 for the Timmins-Porcupine District Alzheimer’s Society (TPDAS). The I.G. Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s held in Timmins was one of a series of nationwide fundraisers. Last year, the event raised about $3,000 in Timmins.
“We are out to create awareness and to fundraise for our local society to support our programs and services,” said Jennifer Cornell, acting executive director of the TPDAS. “We offer support, we offer education, one-on-one support and navigation through the journey through dementia.”
Currently there are more than 500,000 Canadians with dementia. That number is expected to grow to more than 900,000 by 2035.
“It is important for our office to raise funds to meet the growing needs of our communities,” Cornell said. “Our area currently has over 2,000 people living with dementia. And that’s only the people who have been diagnosed. By 2031, that will be increased by 50 per cent, so it will be over 3,000 people.
“We are partially funded by the Ministry of Health, but that is only partially. Our fundraisers are very important this is how we pay for our programs and services. Everything that is fundraised here stays local.”
The issue of dementia strikes close to home for Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay.
“My grandfather had one of the finest minds I ever knew. He was a brilliant man,” Angus told participants prior to the walk. “He would go out for a walk, and my grandmother would call and say he was lost. How could he be lost? He knows the town like the back of his hand. The affect it had on our family, seeing such a powerful mind taken over by Alzheimer’s, transformed us.
“Being in the old folks’ home, he couldn’t figure out why he was there. He thought we were in a bus station. So he was thinking, ‘I’m going back home from Cape Breton to Schumacher.’
“It was a hard, hard time, but I came to learn so much about my grandfather during that period. It has an incredibly hard toll on the families, everyone carries a huge weight. This is why what we do as a society, a community, as a nation, finding solutions is so important.”
MPP Gilles Bisson congratulated participates for the successful fundraiser. He said community efforts are vital to deal with the issue.
“The work that needs to be done in order to deal with the research that’s necessary in order to make advances in Alzheimer’s, just doesn’t happen with money from governments. It happens a lot because of people like you and me,” Bisson said. “We all have or had family members who had Alzheimer’s, and we know what it’s like. The work you’re doing here today helps us to raise the dollars necessary to be able to do what has to be done.”
Len Ellery, vice-chair of board of directors for the TPDAS, explained how vital the work of the society is for both patients and caregivers.
“This is a disease that cannot be ignored any longer,” he said. “There are approximately 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year (nationwide). So the Alzheimer’s Society is very important, both in our community and across Canada. They understand how this disease affects people.”
Ellery stressed the importance of reaching out for help to deal with dementia.
“It’s not always easy to ask for help. From my own personal experience, I can’t stress enough not to hesitate to reach out for assistance,” he said. “The Alzheimer’s Society offers invaluable services to our community, to both those suffering from the disease and their caregivers.”
For more information about programs and support services available, contact the Timmins-Porcupine District Alzheimer Society at 705-268-4554 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .