Meet Bev McDonald
“You can’t go wrong volunteering with the Alzheimer Society.”
If anyone would know, it’s Bev McDonald. She’s been volunteering at the Alzheimer Society - in the office, at the Walk for Alzheimer’s, holding Coffee Breaks and as a Volunteer Companion - since 1997.
Bev is currently volunteering as a receptionist for the Alzheimer Society, which is also how she got started. Executive Director Shelley Green reached out to her to see if she wanted to start volunteering after she retired, and Bev hasn’t looked back.
She enjoys volunteering at the office, where she gets to spend time with the staff and see first-hand the impact the Alzheimer Society’s programs are having on Oxford County. The Society is always welcoming and appreciative of everything volunteers do, Bev says.
“The girls at this office, the people who work there, are wonderful, and I see the families come in and they’re so grateful for the programs that are run here for them.”
Bev also spent a few years as a Volunteer Companion in a program that paired her with a local Grade 8 student. Together, they would visit their match once a week, a person with dementia who was living in a nursing home. Bev enjoyed the program, which gave her the opportunity to see the perspective of a younger person, as well as how the client would react to them.
It’s clear that the social element of volunteering is something Bev enjoys. It’s part of what she likes about participating in and volunteering at the Walk for Alzheimer’s, where she does a few loops around the track and also helps out in the kitchen. She gets to catch up with other returning volunteers in the kitchen and also get to know new people.
But most of all, Bev appreciates that the money she and other people raise for the Walk stays in Oxford County.
Bev’s husband’s sister-in law had Alzheimer’s, and so did their close family friend, a teacher and principal who was adored by their children.
“It’s quite a devastating disease, actually. That’s why I really like to support the Society here.”
Bev says that after so many years, and with so many organizations asking for money, fundraising can be a challenge. But it’s one she’s happy to take on.
“It’s an honour, I think, to raise that money and to turn it in, and see it added to the total each year. I just keep on keeping on, as long as I can."