Meet Jan Vicars
Very few people understand the Walk for Alzheimer’s like Jan Vicars. For 15 years she was the events coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Oxford, taking the lead on running the annual fundraising event.
“I went to all three of them, every year,” she said with a laugh. “It’s just a fun event.”
Jan and her team worked hard to make sure the Walks appealed to a broad range of walkers, both young and old.
“When you come to the Walk, it’s fun for the kids, it’s fun for the adults, there’s good food, there’s good music, kids’ activities. There’s so much going on that anyone can have a good time, even if you just come and sit and have a coffee,” Jan said.
She only retired last year, and it’s clear that Jan still cares deeply about the cause. She slips into using plural pronouns when talking about the Alzheimer Society.
“We provide so many different services, free of charge. There’s the support groups, there’s educational courses – just so many ways that people get help from the Alzheimer Society,” Jan said.
And she knows the realities of the non-profit world.
“I know, from having worked here, that only 62% of funding comes from the government and the rest they have to raise,” Jan said. “I know how carefully the Alzheimer Society works with their money.”
Jan helps the organization reach that fundraising requirement by collecting pledges for the Walk, even into her retirement.
Every year she hits the road in a small Oxford community.
“I have a group of businesses where I live in Thamesford that give every year, so I go back to them,” she said. “But a lot of it is done online – which is a lot easier than walking the streets.”
For Jan, no agency is more worthwhile than the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
“They’re very creative in coming up with new and innovative services, which I was always very impressed with,” she said.
“They don’t just do what everybody else does. If there is a new need in the community, they’ll try to meet that.”