KFLA Alzheimer’s Walk raises funds and disease awareness

The weather was perfect for KFLA's Walk for Alzheimer's, held Saturday in Conservation Park. Photo by Terry McNamee.

Terry McNamee
For the Beaver

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s disease?

At the second annual Alzheimer’s Walk in Napanee’s Conservation Park on Saturday, people could experience some of the things dementia patients have to deal with as a result of their disease. The Dementia Experience used a variety of items to demonstrate how dementia affects those suffering from it.

Sharon Lewis, education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A), said the disease affects how people see the world. To illustrate her point, she had pairs of partially obscured glasses that people could wear to see how their vision and balance were affected. People also could put on rubber gloves and discover how difficult it is for Alzheimer’s patients to manage fine motor skills such as doing up buttons or tying shoes.

The walk itself attracted a good crowd, with about 35 people registered on-line and more showing up on the morning to take part. There were all ages present, including patients, caregivers, relatives and other people who simply wanted to help contribute.

“All the money that we raise here stays in the KFL&A area and goes to support people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” said fundraising coordinator Lesley Kimble. “Our goal is to help people live well with dementia. It’s not an easy disease to cope with or live with.”

She said the support provided by the Alzheimer’s Society includes counselling and resources for dementia patients and caregivers.

“There’s a real upswing in the early onset, under the age of 65,” she said.

One of the participants in Saturday’s walk was Vicky Willis of Gananoque. She walked in memory of her husband, Jeff, who passed away last year from temporal lobe dementia. He was only 55 years old.

Another was Beverley Stinson of Napanee, who was part of Neil’s Crew. More than 20 family and friends accompanied Alzheimer’s patient Neil Stinson on the walk.

Kimble said the KFL&A Alzheimer’s Society has four offices in the area, with the main one in Kingston. The group holds two walks, with the other one taking place in Kingston on Sunday, May 26, at Lake Ontario Park.

Kimble said the Napanee walk received tremendous support from area businesses who sponsored the event and donated prizes.

The main sponsor this year was IG Wealth Management.

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