Support remains strong for annual Walk for Alzheimer's fundraiser
Cathy Forma, Lenore McKeen and Laura McKenzie of Eth's Elves take part in the Walk for Alzheimer's fundraiser at the Aud in Simcoe Thursday. The group raised almost $3,000 for the event. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
Just because Christmas is long past doesn't mean there aren't still some elves walking around Norfolk County.
On Thursday a group of them were at the Simcoe Aud as part of the Walk for Alzheimer's.
For the fourth year in a row, Eth's Elves strutted their stuff in support of the Alzheimer Society of Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Hamilton Halton region.
The team is comprised of Port Dover Lioness members who raise money in the name of friend/former member Ethel Leggett. Leggett has been living with dementia for a number of years and so her peers are doing all they can to help.
“Cathy (Forma, Lioness member) and I were working the bingo in Simcoe and a gentleman told us about (the walk) so her and I went in it,” explained team captain Laura McKenzie. “When we saw the different teams we said 'why don't we put a team together and walk for Ethel?'
Eth's Elves are consistently one of the top fundraisers at the event, which recorded $40,000 this year. With a few bucks still to be collected the Elves estimated they would contribute close to $3,000.
“That's what we do,” McKenzie said. “All our (fundraising) money is for Norfolk County and that's what we say in our email if anybody wants to walk. It's all staying in Norfolk and going towards people here, and their families.”
One of the reasons the Port Dover group has returned each year is the strong effort from organizers, McKenzie said. All walkers are provided a chili lunch, and the chance to assist families in their own community.
“I think people are expecting it now,” said Aileen Bradshaw, manager of the Alzheimer Foundation. “People know at the end of January we're going to have the walk. Not necessarily just our clients and caregivers and our sponsors come, but the community comes as well. It really is a community event.”
While groups like the Port Dover Lioness could easily lend a hand to fellow members internally, Bradshaw and the rest of the organizers see the importance of their attendance.
“It's wonderful because they want to help and support their (member) and there's ways they can do that within their organization, but this is how they can do it in a big way,” she said. “There's sometimes stigma involved with dementia, so to have events like this where people go out and support it helps get rid of that problem.”
And while the Alzheimer Society helps break down barriers on a yearly basis, its annual walk furthers the cause.
“We promote this event through social media, ads in newspapers,” Bradshaw points out. “But nothing shows more awareness than when you have a successful event and the community comes out.”
More information on the society can be found at alzhn.ca.