Meet our Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s honouree who is helping build a dementia-friendly B.C.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s flagship fundraising event, the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s, is fast approaching. The event will take place in over 20 communities across the province on Sunday, May 6. The event raises vital public awareness about dementia to reduce stigma surrounding the disease, and raise crucial funds to enable research into its causes and cures. Each community event is dedicated to a local honouree – someone affected by dementia or a group or individual who has invaluably contributed to the lives of people living with the disease.
The Burnaby and New Westminster’s Walk honouree is John Stark. Like so many people who first make contact with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in a professional capacity, John Stark’s connection to the Society became personal. The senior social planner with the City of New Westminster was deep into the work of making his community the first dementia-friendly city in the province when he became a caregiver to someone living with the disease: his own father.
His father, who had been living in England when he was diagnosed, soon moved to Vancouver to be closer to his son.
“It’s one thing to help develop a dementia-friendly action plan and it’s another thing when it’s someone you care for deeply,” says John, who balances his full-time work for the City with the responsibilities of parenting his 13-year-old child and caring for his father. “Since my father can only go out with a caregiver, I try to go out with him every day. We’ve still had a lot of laughs along the way.”
“I’m going through my own trials and tribulations,” he says. “I’m starting to realize some of the challenges that exist for someone who lives with dementia and just how many people have a personal connection to it. There’s comfort and support in knowing that you’re not alone.”
John is now using his personal experience to support the City of New Westminster in its efforts to better welcome people living with dementia today, and better support them in the future. John is just one of the many passionate and diligent people at the City of New Westminster who are bringing us one step closer to becoming a dementia-friendly province.
The City of Burnaby is also leading its own dementia-friendly initiative, creating its own dementia-friendly action plan and become a powerful advocate for people affected by the disease. In partnering with the Society, both cities have become leaders in British Columbia – and in Canada – at building a movement to create a dementia-friendly society.
You can learn more about the Society’s Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative and how you can play a role here. To walk with John or our other community honourees at the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s, register today. Together, we make memories matter.