Support people on an uphill journey at the Climb for Alzheimer’s

Thousands of British Columbians are affected by dementia; nobody should have to face that mountain alone. That’s why the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is inviting people to register and fundraise for the Climb for Alzheimer’s at Grouse Mountain on September 29, 2019.

In this fun, invigorating hike up the Grouse Grind®, climbers show their commitment to helping people affected by dementia face the challenges of the journey. Funds raised help make sure that people living with dementia, their caregivers and families have access to programs and services offered across the province through First Link® dementia support.

They’ll be helping people like Louise Graham, who is living with young onset dementia. Louise was diagnosed at the age of 54 by Dr. Dean Foti at the University of British Columbia, after a long series of tests. It took a while for her to process what was happening to her. “Telling my family was when it sank in for me,” Louise says. “My father and brothers cried.” 

Bronwyn James and Louise Graham
Louise Graham (right), who lives with dementia and participates in Alzheimer Society of B.C. programs and services through First Link® dementia support, with Bronwyn James, Support and Education Coordinator at the North Shore & Sunshine Coast Resource Centre.

A civil engineer who got her start at the University of Waterloo, Louise drove across the country to settle in North Vancouver, where she met her husband Bill ten years ago. Since her diagnosis, she’s had to stop working, while Bill has continued running a business on top of caregiving. This is one of the realities of young onset dementia, and their experience has spurred Louise to advocate for more services specifically for people who are living with dementia under the age of 65. 

In December 2018, Louise and Bill joined a special support group at the Society’s North Shore & Sunshine Coast Resource Centre. The support group is geared toward people living with young onset dementia and includes their caregivers as well. The support group offers a chance to speak with other people experiencing similar challenges and address topics like information on disability pensions, tax breaks and financial planning when someone must stop working early because of the disease. It gives them a chance to talk to other people who may have caregivers working full time like Bill. Above all, the group gives them a sense of connection and community. “This group is my family,” Louise says.

Louise and Bill are just two of the many people across the province who benefit from funds raised through the Climb for Alzheimer’s. Whether you climb the Grouse Grind® or take part in the Summit Stroll – a gentle walk around the peak of Grouse Mountain – you are having a direct impact on people affected by the disease, ensuring that they don’t have to face an uphill journey on their own.

This September 29, committed supporters, friends and family will head to Grouse Mountain to show that people don’t need to make the dementia journey alone. Strap on your hiking boots and get climbing! Register and start fundraising today.

Last Updated: 09/12/2019