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Penticton walk brings memorable result
Bigger and better. That’s how organizers are describing the recent Investors Group Walk for Memories at Cherry Lane shopping centre.
The tallies in terms of participants and funds raised were well above last year’s totals, according to Laurie Myres, support and education co-ordinator of the local branch of the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C.
“It really warmed my heart, and a huge thank you to the community and volunteers for coming out and supporting us,” said Myres afterwards. “We had about 100 people and I’m hoping we reach $27,000 when it’s all over, and that’s well up from last year.”
She believes part of the increase this time around had to do with the participation of the Penticton Vees junior hockey team in the walk and their promotion during the two weekend hockey games at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The co-ordinator also felt the fact this year’s honouree, the late Audrey Jackson, was so well known in the community for her kindness and compassion and willingness to help others, played a large role in the success of the event.
The day was actually bitter-sweet for the Jackson family and friends because it was on Jan. 27, 2010, Audrey died at age 78.
Leading the procession at Cherry Lane were her husband Bob, daughters Cat and Jacqueline and son Norm.
While the final years were particularly difficult, according to Cat, the middle of the three children, her mother did very well and the pair became even closer.
“My mom was my best buddy and still had awareness of things around her even near the end,” she recalled. “When I would go out and get all the donations and prizes (for the Alzheimer’s golf tournament) I would take my mom with me, and oh my God, we had so much fun. She was my sidekick and she would talk to people and have no problem saying: ‘I have Alzheimer’s.’ And people would stop and say ‘you what?’ ‘I’m worried about my memory,’ and they would just start talking to her.”
Cat feels it is important to speak about the disease publicly because the more aware people are, the easier it is to talk about.
“The message is getting out there and people have to realize that there is a certain stigma attached to somebody that doesn’t remember or repeats themselves, but that you don’t judge them for that, you support them in the best way that you can to make their life better,” she added.
Myres agreed: “That’s why the theme of this month (January) is, See Me, Not the Disease.
“And that is so true because once people have been diagnosed with any disease they become that label. People think, ‘Oh well, that person is gone.’ But they’re not gone, in many cases they’re very high functioning individuals with a lot to give.”
Myres continues to urge people to get checked if they have an signs or concerns and, if necessary, get treatment as soon as possible.
“Because along with the proper care, education and support, everyone can have a fine quality of life,” she said. “It’s very doable.”