Why I Walk - Sally

Why I Walk Sally at the Walk for Alzheimer's

Sally Gibson started walking for her mother – and she hasn’t stopped since. More than any other participant in our area she can confidently claim to “walk the walk.” 

For the past 7 years, she has made a pledge to her donors – “I will walk 1 km for every $100 that you donate.” At last year’s event, Sally completed a full 15km before returning home to find another donation – and another kilometer. She also lets donors know that all the money stays local which they find to be important for rural communities like ours.

This year Sally will walk in honour of her friend Linda who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Linda does not recognize Sally anymore, but she continues to visit her friend in long-term care. As a longtime hospice volunteer, Sally knows “it is so difficult for caregivers to continue to see the person as the disease becomes stronger. The person is still there hidden deeply by the disease.”

She tells her friends that you can listen between the cracks of what people with dementia are talking about and find truth from the past. You can also create a world of imagination and go with the flow as long as there is no danger of anyone getting hurt.

Why I Walk Sally's collection of memory bears
Sally's collection Walk for Memories bears.

Sally helped care for one individual with dementia who wanted to go shopping. Instead of rejecting the shopping trip she went with it. Sally took the woman by the hand and walked her through the house to the “store” – in reality, Sally’s very own closet. The woman apologized saying she had no money, but Sally adjusted by quickly writing her an IOU for $30. The woman happily “purchased” three sweaters and walked back to her favorite chair where she proudly showed off her new outfits. What could have been an upsetting and frustrating encounter became a warm and cherished memory.

She hopes “that by the time my grandchildren are elderly that there will be a breakthrough in research and we no longer have to watch this disease conquer the mind.” Until that time the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce will continue to offer education, support, and programs to individuals with dementia and their care partners.

As one of our most dedicated fundraisers, Sally has raised thousands of dollars and walked more than 70km in support of our organization. The Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce would like to thank Sally for the impact she has made on this community. Please join Sally and all of our other walkers on May 13th in Owen Sound or Hanover at the Walk for Alzheimer’s to help #makememoriesmatter.

Last Updated: 01/20/2020