Thank You, Volunteers! Celebrating National Volunteer’s Week.

Alberta and Northwest Territories

April 18-24 is National Volunteer’s Week! Join us as we feature a few of our fantastic volunteers. Learn a bit about why they decided to get involved with the Society, and how they are making a difference.

national volunteer week 2021

April 18-24 is National Volunteer’s Week! Here at the Society, we are lucky to have a diverse group of volunteers that offer their time to help us support the thousands of families affected by dementia across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Join us this week as we feature a few of our fantastic volunteers. Learn a bit about why they decided to get involved with the Society, and how they are making a difference.

Gail Leonardis – Anything for Alzheimer’s Event Organizer

Gail and her sisters, Wendy and Nola, have been a part of the annual Alzheimer’s High Tea event hosted in Yellowknife for the past four years. Thanks to their creativity, the High Tea took on a new look for its fifth year. The sisters created high tea kits that people could enjoy safely in their homes! The Forget-Me-Not Tea raised over $6,000 for people affected by dementia and created space for connection during an isolating time.

Why I Volunteer:

"I volunteer for the Alzheimer Society because Alzheimer’s has affected my family. I like knowing that the funds I help raise stay in my community and provide information and supports that help ease the journey for other families affected by this disease." – Gail Leonardis

Glen Hill – Support Group Facilitator

Glen Hill uses his own experience as a care partner to help facilitate support groups in the Central Alberta region. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, he was also involved with preparations to promote and build dementia friendly communities.

Why I Volunteer:

“A number of years ago I was introduced to dementia when a family member developed the disease. Some years later my wife developed the disease, and I became a caregiver caring for a person with a disease I knew very little about. As I progressed through the early years of caregiving I unknowingly got trapped where I could not look for help or support to deal with my situation. The stress continued to build until it was near unbearable. My health was failing, and I could not stop it. Then one day I was able to get my wife into the hospital. That then resulted in the Alzheimer Society being notified and I got an invitation to join the care partner’s support group. My association with the support group started my recovery and quite possibly saved my life. As time with the group progressed, I had the opportunity to meet other people who were travelling this caregiving journey and when they told their story I realized they were repeating my story. I did not want to see these people suffer as I did so I decided that I could possibly use my experience to help guide them.” – Glen Hill

Roger Marple – Board Member

Roger Marple was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease in the summer of 2015. Since then, he has worked to dispel myths about the disease and the stigma associated with dementia. Roger also serves on the board of directors of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories and is active in supporting dementia research in Canada.

Why I Volunteer:

"I only associate myself with organizations that I feel have a positive ground floor impact in our society in the here and now. The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories consistently delivers when it comes to this. I believe in what they do." – Roger Marple

Kristen & Shelby Sugiyama – Alzheimer’s Face Off Pro-Am Hockey Tournament presented by Christenson Communities Ltd. Volunteers

Kristen and Shelby are star volunteers at our annual Alzheimer’s Face Off Pro-Am Hockey Tournament presented by Christenson Communities Ltd. (AFO). From greeting players and participants to scorekeeping they help keep the event running smoothly. Their brother, Donovan Sugiyama, is also a team captain for Pals Progressive Puck Hogs.  

Why I Volunteer:

“We lost both our grandparents to Alzheimer’s disease, so the personal connection to the cause was definitely a big reason why I got involved. Once I started volunteering, I quickly realized just how fun the event is!  Watching the games, seeing NHL alumni, and chatting with returning volunteers and players – the sense of community is really strong.” – Shelby Sugiyama

“I love getting to hear other people’s stories about why they are involved in the tournament. Dementia impacts so many people, so it feels good to know that I am helping provide support to people I know in the community.” – Kristen Sugiyama

Mary Buckley – Community Dementia Ambassador

Mary is a member of our Community Dementia Ambassador Program (CDAP) in Hay River, NT. As a dementia ambassador, she helps connect people to services, share information about resources, and serves as the Alzheimer Society representative in her community. Thanks to Mary, and other community dementia ambassadors, we are able to increase our reach in rural and remote areas.

Why I Volunteer:

“I volunteer with the Alzheimer Society to give hope and guidance to families by helping them connect with information and services they might not know are available to them. I want to make sure families realize that they don’t have to walk this journey alone.” – Mary Buckley


The Alzheimer Society would like to thank all our wonderful volunteers who dedicate their time to helping families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. We appreciate you sticking with us as we navigate COVID-19, and we look forward to the day when we can resume more in-person opportunities.


Want to make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia? Share your time and skills with the Alzheimer Society and become a volunteer today!

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volunteers holding hands