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Westlock to host inaugural walk for Alzheimer’s

Event slated to run May 28
The inaugural Walk for Alzheimer’s in Westlock goes this coming Sunday, May 28.

WESTLOCK – Raising awareness is the No. 1 goal for the inaugural Walk for Alzheimer’s in Westlock this coming Sunday.

Although the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is officially sanctioned via the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, the fact it’s coming to town is because of Lynn Sauve, who’s been the facilitator for the Westlock Alzheimer’s Support Group since 2015.

Registration for the 2.5-kilometre event starts at 9 a.m., May 28, at the Westlock Aquatic Centre and will wind along the Rotary Trail towards the Whissellville Pond, then circle back to the pool with a lunch to follow.

“So far, I’ve raised $734 out of a $1,000 goal I set for myself. But to be honest, it wasn’t really about raising money, it was about raising awareness and getting people outside for the walk,” said Sauve. “My mom had it and my mother-in-law had it … it’s deep down for me. Really, this is about raising awareness.”

Sauve confirmed that all the money raised in Westlock will stay within the region and “funds our programs and services that are provided for free to Westlock residents and throughout Alberta” — the Edmonton office and its employees are funded through the walk and in turn they are available to help anyone in Westlock seeking support via the phone or online. Those with any further questions on participating can contact Sauve directly at 780-954-2486.

“There’s more people being diagnosed every day and some people don’t want to reach out because … there’s feeling of guilt and there shouldn’t be,” said Sauve.

For Linda Saunders, who was a nurse for 31 years at the Westlock Continuing Care Centre, the motivation to participate is personal as her husband Charles, who was an orderly at the Immaculata Hospital, has dementia and has been living in the Mayerthorpe auxiliary hospital since January “because there’s no bed for him in his home community of Westlock.” Saunders, whose father also had dementia, said erasing the stigma around the disease is key.

“There is such a stigma attached … for some it’s a big secret,” said Saunders, who’ll be working the registration desk May 28. “Really, the day is about having some fun and coming out and getting some exercise. It’s not meant to be a contest.”

In 2022, Alzheimer’s walks across the province raised over $196,000 for the more than 50,000 Alberta “families on their journey with dementia.” Since 2015, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s has raised over $41 million for people living with dementia and their care partners.

Currently over 600,000 Canadians live with dementia and by 2050, without a cure, nearly two million people may be stricken with the disease.

George Blais,

George Blais

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