The Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District hosted its 12th annual Walk for Alzheimer’s in Elliot Lake on Saturday bringing in plenty of supporters who raised an unofficial tally of $7,690.
This year’s walk was hosted by the society which teamed up with chief sponsor IG Wealth Management in the fundraiser to bring in money to cover costs associated with assisting those suffering from the disease and related dementia.
Society executive director Terry Caporossi thanked supporters for attending, “this most great walk in Elliot Lake.”
“Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a growing cause right through not only our community here but right across the country,” he told supporters in the Elliot Lake Secondary School cafeteria. “In Elliot Lake and around the North Shore we have about 1,000 people who have been diagnosed with dementia-related disease. The money we raise here locally will provide local support and service.”
The Society receives about 55 per cent funding from the Ministry of Health with the remaining 45 per cent raised in the community to provide, “front line services.”
“Your support means a lot to us as an organization and it also means a lot to us as a community,” he added.
The Society has also established an adult program in Blind River, he said.
Society East Algoma Education Coordinator Wende Diemer read greetings from MP Carol Hughes representing Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing who was unable to attend the walk due to a commitment in another part of her riding.
“As you know Alzheimer’s is a disease that is very close to my heart,” Hughes said. “My sister was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the young age of 50. Her journey with the disease ended in 2017.”
“I am well aware of the advances we have made over the 14 years she lived with the disease, but there is still so much to be done in terms of raising awareness of the disease and advance care levels available for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
Hughes said currently half a million Canadians live with some form of dementia and another 78,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
She said more has to be done to improve awareness and care for those suffering from the disease.
Elliot Lake Mayor Dan Marchisella met earlier with the group at the high school to bring his greetings.
MPP Mike Mantha for the riding of Algoma-Manitoulin participated in the walk and acknowledged the strong support from the community for the fundraiser.
Mantha vowed to continue to pressure the provincial government for funding to increase awareness and care.
Entertainment was provided by the Front Porch band of guitarists Mark Robinson, Jim Graham and Peter Evans. Graham also performed a song with altered lyrics to Dan Hill’s classic song “Sometimes when we touch.”
Prizes were handed out to several participants in a variety of categories including most money raised.
Organizer of the event was Randi Lacko, local community outreach coordinator.