Meet Terry Geerlinks
Terry Geerlinks is the Walk for Alzheimer’s top fundraiser since the event began 23 years ago. She’s raised well over $30,000 for the Alzheimer Society and has no plans to slow down.
And Terry, 88, didn’t even have the benefit of Society services when she cared for her husband, who had dementia, because the organization didn’t exist in Oxford yet. Instead she depended on her 12 children, who took it in turns to help their mother.
Unlike many other Wall of Fame Walkers, Terry didn’t start fundraising to give back to the Society, but rather because she wanted to support others in her position.
“I just wanted to help, to show my interest in it. It’s for a very good cause; it’s an awful sickness, really,” she said.
And her magic recipe – the same one she’s used for 20 years, ever since the Walk began – is brilliant in its simplicity. Terry keeps a list of donors and tries to add a few names every year.
“I sit down at the kitchen table and I give lots of phone calls,” she said.
“I have some people that say already ‘when are you coming for the money?’” Terry said with a chuckle.
For others who are less prepared, Terry is dogged in her determination to get their pledges.
“It is actually a big job, to get that money in. Especially me, I don’t drive, I can’t pick it up, they have to give it to me. Sometimes I have to call them three times or so,” she said.
The event itself is a family affair. Terry participates with her daughter – another Wall of Fame Walker, Trudy Hyde – among other children and relatives.
Though Terry doesn’t do as many laps as she used to, she’s committed to attending the annual event.
“Before, I was just walking. Then, in a few years, I took a cane. Now I have a walker. I don’t walk so much in the hall as what I did before. I don’t walk all the way around,” she said. “They always say ‘we don’t care how much you walk.’”
Terry is already looking forward to the 2017 Walk for Alzheimer’s.
“I think it is a good thing, and I think it is fun, too. I like to go.”
Terry Geerlinks is 88 years old and participates in the Woodstock Walk for Alzheimer's.