Make a difference - be an MKGG volunteer
Even if hiking the Grouse Grind isn’t on your list in 2015, you can still play an important role in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in British Columbia. Volunteers are needed at MKGG (Mt. Kilimanjaro Grouse Grind for Alzheimer’s) and make every aspect of the event possible, from answering the phones for registration to celebrating with hikers at the top of the mountain.
There are many great reasons to volunteer, including the opportunity to make a difference while having fun and meeting enthusiastic and caring people. When Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. special events officer Katie Syroid asked volunteer Nancy Lyall why she planned to volunteer for MKGG last year, for example, Nancy said, “Because I can!”
“I recently retired, and I feel it's time to pay it forward,” she added. “I have been fortunate to have a healthy, happy life, and it’s time to give back. And MKGG is special to me because I will never forget the day in 2012 when we summited Kilimanjaro for Alzheimer’s.”
Nancy and the Ascent for Alzheimer’s team she trekked with knew that, at the same time, the MKGG teams were hiking Grouse in support. “We felt their energy – it’s one of those moments in my life that I will cherish forever,” she said.
Nancy says that every year she hears of more family and friends who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. “It’s a disease that’s on the rise, and [we] need a cure.”
The most common inspiration for volunteering is a connection to the cause, says Katie. “Many of our volunteers have a direct experience with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the questions I ask when interviewing committee members is why they want to be involved, and the answer is often, “I want to support people who are going through what we’ve gone through.”
For many, volunteering is their way of making a difference and giving back to the community, she notes.
“Several of our committee members have parents who are currently affected by dementia. They know the struggle, and they know the ups and downs of having the disease.”
People who want to get involved can volunteer in any number of different ways, stresses Katie. “We’re always looking for volunteers who are willing to help us with special events, on event day, with community awareness events or to sit on our volunteer organizing committees.”
Volunteers are also needed in the Society offices, making phone calls or putting event packages together prior to the event.
“We pretty much find a place for anybody who would like to join us as a volunteer. We’ll find something for them to do and utilize their skillsets to the best of our ability,” she says.