MKGG spotlight: Trek for Larry

Tina Gonnella and her father, Larry. 

From the moment Tina Gonnella first heard about the MKGG Climb for Alzheimer’s, she knew she wanted to put together a team and take part. Tina is climbing to mark her fiftieth birthday, motivated by the challenges that her parents have experienced since her father’s diagnosis.

“Dad’s still living at home with Mom,” Tina says. “And he can carry on most of his daily routine with assistance – but he can’t clearly express himself. I find this very difficult, because I live across the country and our contact can really only be by phone or Skype.”

Dementia is an uphill journey, and it’s one that can feel isolating for people on it; MKGG is a reminder that nobody should have to face that journey alone. For Tina, that means getting the whole family involved – her team, Trek for Larry, consists of family members and friends from across Canada and even the Caribbean.

Because team members are coming from all over, Tina is doing her best to make sure they understand the scope of undertaking the Climb up Grouse Mountain and that they’re training for it. “My sister and brother-and-law got a taste when they visited from Ontario,” she says. “They know what they’re dealing with.” It’s really her brother, who lives on Antigua, she’s worried about. “He’s used to island life, but I know he’ll make it to the top!”

Because Tina and family live away from each other, Tina understands the importance of funds raised by the event going towards support services in smaller communities to help people feel like they don’t have to face the disease in isolation. Tina first connected with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. after her father was diagnosed and she connected with the North Shore Resource Centre. “It is very comforting to know that there are people who care and understand and can answer questions.”

Climbing a mountain and making the dementia journey are both easier when you know that you don’t have to do them alone. Show your support for British Columbians living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by registering a team and fundraising today.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017