Rubber Re-Meets The Road
Walk for Alzheimerâ€™s in-person for first time since COVID-19 PandemicÂ
Greetings â€“ Teresa Weicker, a CSS dementia educator for the Alzheimer Society of Huron and Perth as well as the fund development assistant, greets people as they arrive at the Walk For Alzheimer's on May 28.
Stratfordâ€™s edition of Walk for Alzheimerâ€™s took place in Upper Queen Park on May 28. The walk was in-person for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Teresa Weicker, the fund development assistant and CSS dementia educator for the Alzheimer Society of Huron and Perth counties, said that there are 3,047 Huron-Perth residents living with Alzheimerâ€™s or dementia.
"For every one person living with Alzheimer's or dementia, there's three caregivers that also support them,â€ť Weicker said â€śIf you look at that, it's over 12,000 people that weâ€™re supporting in Huron and Perth and we support them all.â€ť
She added that there are people diagnosed with early onset dementia at younger ages.Â
â€śThere are people in their 40s and 50s and even early 60s who are seeing dementia run in their family lines.â€ť
Funds raised will provide support programs, social recreation, and programming and education. One of the recreational programs is Minds in Motion, an hour-long program combining physical and cognitive exercises. Minds in Motion was virtual twice a week due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but recently moved back to in-person sessions.Â
"They say when you get those endorphins going from your physical activity, your cognitive piece, your ability to retain that information definetly increases,â€ť Weicker said.Â
The Alzheimer Society of Huron and Perth Counties hopes to raise $135,000. In a follow-up email with the Stratford Times, Weicker said that about $85,000 was raised as of June 1st. There were also about 75 people attending the Stratford event.
Red Bickell, the oldest participant at 90-years-old, attended the walk with his family for the first time. Bickell said that the Alzheimerâ€™s Society of Huron Perth means a lot to him and his family.Â
â€śEleven years ago, I was diagnosed with early dementia and I struggled with it and fought over it,â€ť he said. â€śI don't think I'm too bad yet.â€ť
The Alzheimerâ€™s Society provided lots of support for him and his family, including the Minds in Motion program.Â
â€śIt's good exercise. We get a lot of exercise out of it,â€ť Bickell said.
Krystal Denow, another first-time participant, walked for her mother-in-law who was diagnosed with Alzheimerâ€™s in the past year. Denow also had a grandfather with dementia, and the Alzheimerâ€™s society impacted her.Â
"When I helped take care of him, the Alzheimer's Society was a great help and support,â€ť Deneau said. â€śAll of the different tools and resources were super helpful with my family to make sure that we have what we needed and the support that we needed."
She hopes to attend the walk every year.Â
"It feels amazing. It's a beautiful day. s The walk in Stratford is beautiful. The scenery, everyone has been so great and friendly,â€ť she said â€śI can't wait to see what next year brings. Hopefully, it brings a bigger crowd every year, as more people get comfortable with doing so, but itâ€™s been great.â€ťÂ
Elsewhere in Huron-Perth, there were in-person walks in Clinton, Wingham, Exeter, and Listowel. There was also a hybrid walk in St. Marys where participants could either attend an in-person event or walk on their own time with a virtual walk. Donations will be collected until July and can be made on