Siren’s Curtis Lum creates all-star team for the Climb for Alzheimer’s
There will be some familiar faces joining the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Climb for Alzheimer’s fundraiser on Sunday, September 30. Actors from Vancouver’s local film and television industry have united as the team "Artists for Alzheimer’s" and will climb Grouse Mountain together to raise awareness of dementia and challenge the stigma associated with the disease. They are fundraising to support Alzheimer Society of B.C programs and services, as well as to enable research that will advance knowledge of the disease.
One of the "Artists for Alzheimer’s" co-captains is Siren’s Curtis Lum, who was inspired to become involved with the Society after his grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. “My passion to help out and give back to the people caring for my grandfather was ignited almost immediately,” he says “I’ve just been waiting for the right time and thankfully that time is now.”
Curtis, along with co-captain Debbie Podowski, has been responsible for galvanizing the local film industry to join them at the Climb. As well as his Siren co-stars, they have successfully recruited local actors who appear on The 100, Riverdale and the upcoming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The team has also seen a groundswell of support in donations from people in their industry. Curtis isn’t surprised by this. “While it’s growing at a rapid rate, Vancouver’s film and T.V. industry is still quite small. Everyone kind of knows each other and is very loving and supportive.” He is particularly looking forward to event day: “Physically seeing everyone who has supported our cause coming together for the greater good will be so powerful.”
As well as being a fundraising powerhouse – "Artists for Alzheimer’s" has raised over $10,000 for the event to date – Curtis hopes he can use his profile to share his personal story so that others affected by dementia know they aren’t alone. “If someone close to you is living with dementia, my advice is to remember to take things one day at a time, moment to moment. Be very patient and always lead with love.”
While Curtis admits that the experience can at times be difficult and emotionally testing, he says it’s important to simply be present, “I never knew what to expect of my grandfather, so I just gave up on expectations and focused on being consistent for him. He wasn't always able to talk to me but he always knew when I was there, and I could feel his appreciation. Nothing else mattered to me other than him knowing that he was loved.”
Curtis hopes his participation in the Climb for Alzheimer’s is just the beginning. “The more I'm learning about this disease and how many people around me have been affected by it, the more I want to help. With the number of people affected rising, it’s so important to tell everyone we can about it, so we can look towards more support and eventually find a cure!”
You can join Curtis and his team by registering for the Climb for Alzheimer’s on September 30 or show him your support by making a donation to his team. You can also catch Curtis on ABC Spark’s Siren. Curtis describes the show as being about a mysterious girl who shows up in a small coastal town called Bristol Cove. He says, “The whole town is flipped upside down when we discover that she is a mermaid and that there could possibly be more of them coming!” Siren’s second season will premiere in January of 2019.