“Let’s kick dementia’s butt!” Talia celebrates her eleventh birthday by taking part in the Climb for Alzheimer’s

British Columbia
Talia smiling as she climbs Grouse Mountain in the 2019 Climb for Alzheimer's.

Not many ten-year olds would consider spending their birthday climbing the 2,830 steps up the notoriously challenging Grouse Grind® – but young fundraiser Talia Yorish is determined to make a difference.

"Every year the Climb for Alzheimer’s falls on or close to my birthday, so conquering Grouse Mountain is my own present to myself,” Talia explains. “I want to raise awareness of the challenges and struggles that families affected by dementia have to face and show that these challenges can be conquered too.”

2020 marks the third year that Talia is taking part in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, a fundraising challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. In past years, participants have climbed North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind® on the last Sunday in September. This year’s event runs from July 21 to September 21 – and now anyone in the province can participate by hiking or climbing in their community. 

Talia first took on the challenge in 2018 after witnessing how Lewy body dementia affected her grandmother, Mariam. Lewy body dementia is a form of dementia that has symptoms similar to both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and often progresses rapidly. Talia recalls how it quickly affected Mariam’s memory and ability to do household tasks, and eventually, her ability to eat or go to the bathroom by herself.

“It was hard to see her struggling in her care home,” Talia says. “But I also had fun times playing balloon volleyball, bingo and singing with her and the other residents. My grandma was the funniest and she always made me laugh. She was always smiling and laughing until she left us and I’m thankful for all those memories.”

Talia and Mariam smiling together at a table.

Talia was one of the top fundraisers for the Climb for Alzheimer’s in 2019, raising over $1,800 – an amount she hopes to beat this year, with an incredible goal of $2,000. This year’s event has particular importance to her as, sadly, Mariam passed away this past April. Talia is taking part in the challenge this year to honour her grandmother and help the thousands of families across the province who are affected by dementia.

“The Climb is a big challenge for me, just like the challenge that all families in B.C. that have a family member living with dementia face. There is no cure for dementia and I want to raise money to help this important cause and to find a cure. Every dollar counts! Let's kick dementia's butt!”

Thank you to Talia and her family for their continued dedication and efforts for the thousands of people affected by dementia in British Columbia! To support Talia’s Climb for Alzheimer’s challenge, visit her fundraising page.

This year’s Climb for Alzheimer’s is happening province-wide: from Mount Douglas in Victoria to the Summit Peak Trail in Fort Nelson, the list of hikes that you can tackle to help reach our collective goal of 70,000 kilometres is endless. Join the challenge by September 21 and choose your Climb at climbforalzheimers.ca.