On June 5, 2024, Altona community members gathered at The Gardens On Tenth for the Walk for Alzheimer's, raising an impressive $15,560 to support the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. The event started at 10:00 am with registration and walk-up donations, bringing together participants of all ages for a meaningful cause.

Rebecca Atkinson, Regional Coordinator of the South Central region for the Alzheimer's Society of Manitoba, emphasized the importance of funding: "It also raises a lot of money for the Alzheimer's Society, and where that money goes is to offer more supports for families." 

The day began with a welcome and introductions by several key people. Perry Batchelor, a Councilor from the Town of Altona, opened the event, followed by Erin Crawford, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. Multiple representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, including Allison Woodward and Rebecca Atkinson, spoke to the crowd, highlighting the significance of community involvement in the fight against Alzheimer's. John Falk, Chair Representative from The Gardens On Tenth, and Debbie Hildebrand from the local support group shared their perspectives and thanks.

"It's great to do an Alzheimer's walk in Altona. It's something that so many people are dealing with, and it's nice to recognize that. We have a number of clients in our buildings that are dealing with the start of Alzheimer's... so it's important for us that there's a lot of Alzheimer's awareness," said Falk.

A particularly touching moment was when Marilyn Funk shared her personal experience and family story, highlighting the emotional impact of Alzheimer's. Before the walk began, West Park School's grade 5 students performed a heartfelt song, setting a hopeful tone for the event.

"I work at trying to raise funds for this event to try to raise awareness for this event. Hopefully through raising awareness we can end the stigma around dementia and Alzheimer's in our communities... It's an important cause because rates of dementia are so high in our population. We have to do what we can... hiding this behind closed doors or sweeping it under the rug is not the answer. Speaking about it, and openly sharing our concerns and helping each other is more important," said Karen Brown, volunteer organizer. 

Participants walked the traditional route that curved around the tree donated by the Alzheimer's Society of Manitoba years ago. Every year since it was planted, the Alzheimer's Society walk has paused at that tree to take a group photo. This action highlights the lasting impact and ongoing efforts to support those affected by Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's walk group

"There are thousands of families all over the province affected by dementia. We are people who are scared we're gonna get a dementia diagnosis... or did get a dementia diagnosis. We are people who are determined to live our best life... and we are determined to remember and honour other people close to us who have been impacted by dementia... that's what this walk is about, and that is what you're supporting by coming out today," said Erin Crawford, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. 

The walk continued along the pathway through the Memory Garden before returning to The Gardens On Tenth courtyard, where participants enjoyed a hotdog lunch provided by CO-OP.

This event is about raising funds and awareness. This intergenerational group brought together individuals of all ages to show support for those affected by Alzheimer's disease.