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Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Snow can’t keep walkers away

Snow can’t keep walkers away
Angela Klaassen, the event coordinator for the 2019 Walk for Alzheimer’s, speaks to participants at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse on Sunday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Neither wind nor snow nor bad road conditions could keep the 2019 Walk for Alzheimer’s participants from their duty.

Participants managed to raise more than $7,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada during the annual event on Sunday, with more expected to come in the days ahead. Poor road conditions kept a number of people from attending, including the main speaker, but event organizer Angela Klaassen said she was still happy with the turnout.

“I think it was fabulous to see such great support despite the terrible weather we’ve been having,” Klaassen said afterwards. “I was really pleased with the amount of people who did come out.”

Getting to the event may have been a problem, but most participants were eager to get started once inside the warm confines of the Alfred Jenkins Field House.

Attendees like Michael Janser said almost everyone knows someone affected with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, so they all have an interest in finding a cure.

“We all know somebody, if not many, in our families or in our communities,” said Janser, who was attending the event for the second straight year. “I think it’s a really good cause. There are so many good causes out there, but this is one that I believe in.”

There are an estimated 500,000 Canadians living with some type of dementia, and that number is expected to rise significantly in the future. The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada estimates that number to jump to 937,000 within 12 years. In 2016, the combined health-care system and out-of-pocket caregiver costs were estimated at roughly $10.4 billion annually.

Janser said the outlook does at times seem pessimistic, but he’s also encouraged by events like the 2019 Walk for Alzhiemer’s, which show people are trying to help.

“I’m optimistic because there are groups like this who are concerned (and) people are making good efforts,” he explained. “It’s getting more recognition … so there’s the upside, but of course, there is the downside. It seems like it’s becoming more prevalent and that’s a little discouraging, but I think that’s all the more reason why we have to do things like this and try to tackle it.”

Sunday’s walk was also encouraging for the Alzheimer’s Society, which will put the money towards research and programming. With roughly 20,000 people in Saskatchewan living with the disease, Klaassen said every penny raised will go a long way.

“It’s really important to have communities get behind (the walk) and support the cause,” she said. “We all know someone with the disease who’s currently battling, so it’s good to have local support to help raise funds in order to offer programs and services to those affected.”