Help raise critical funds at the Climb for Alzheimer’s!
Joanne Egan (second from right) with her Climb team: from left to right, Emma, Angela, Dani and Michael Rodenburgh, with Anna Gowriluk.
“Doing the Climb for Alzheimer’s reminded me of the challenges we faced when my husband Russ was first diagnosed with dementia,” Joanne Egan says. “When I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other, my son was watching my back and a friend was encouraging me from the front.”
The Climb for Alzheimer’s is a fun, invigorating hike up the Grouse Grind® – but it’s also an opportunity to help the Alzheimer Society of B.C. raise critical funds to support, educate and advocate for families on the dementia journey, and enable research that will advance knowledge of the disease. Participants can hike the Grouse Grind® or take part in the Summit Stroll – a great walking option for people who want to participate without having to climb the mountain.
Joanne was inspired to fundraise for the Climb because of the support she received from the Society’s staff and volunteers at the Greater Victoria Resource Centre as she and Russ dealt with the challenges presented by Russ’s diagnosis. “I know that I can call on them when the hill seems like daunting task,” Joanne says.
Receiving the diagnosis was a difficult experience. Russ progressed quickly, and Joanne felt like she was alone in trying to process what was happening to them. Russ found himself no longer able to participate in activities that he enjoyed – he wasn’t able to play bridge and tennis, or go to the gym. They weren’t able to go camping anymore.
Joanne found her own health compromised, and had to be hospitalized. “I was left to coordinate care for Russ from my hospital bed,” she says. She relied on family friends to stay with Russ while she recovered, and later started a walking group with friends so that she could stay connected and socially engaged.
Connecting with the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link® dementia support was instrumental to Joanne and Russ coping with the changes brought on by the disease. “When we began this journey I had no idea what to do,” Joanne says. “When I turned to the Society, I took every education workshop going. I soaked up their knowledge.”
As Russ has progressed in the disease, he has transitioned into long-term care. “We still have time together when we can sit, listen to music and go for walks,” Joanne says. “I hope he will always feel my love.
People, like Joanne and Russ, who are affected by Alzheimer's disease other dementias face an uphill journey every day. This September 30, passionate supporters, friends and family will head to Grouse Mountain to show that people don't need to make the dementia journey alone. Who will you climb for? Register and start fundraising today!