‘Walk for Memories’ in works Pledge forms now available

While it may be two months away, organizers are encouraging participants to start thinking about getting pledges for the local Alzheimer Society’s fifth-annual “Walk for Memories” on Sunday, May 27 here.
Margaret Schonewille, executive director of the local Alzheimer Society, said the annual walk is a time to remember those who do have Alzheimer’s, as well as raise funds for the cause.
“Walk for Memories” pledge forms will be available at various locations around the district. For right now, though, people can get them by calling Schonewille at 1-800-682-0245.
While details still have to be confirmed, the walk likely will begin at the Super 8 Motel in the afternoon, with participants going over to Fort Frances High School and then walking around the track there.
Schonewille noted something new this year is the fact participants will be able to make their own ice cream sundaes after they’ve walked.
“It might attract the kids,” she remarked. “After the walk, it was so hot last year—we’ll have ice cream and all of the toppings and they can make their own ice cream sundaes.
“We’ll also have things for those who don’t want ice cream, like fruit. But we thought we needed something more—something to attract the younger ones.”
T-shirts will be given to all participants who turn in pledges while the individual who has the most pledges will win a prize (in previous years, it’s been one-night stay at a hotel in either Winnipeg or Thunder Bay).
The event is open to anyone. Participants are encouraged to collect pledges and then walk, run, bike, in-line skate, skateboard, or ride in their wheelchair or stroller.
Schonewille noted the walk will happen rain or shine.
A “Walk for Memories” also will be held on Saturday, May 26 in Rainy River.
If you have any questions about the “Walk for Memories,” call the Alzheimer Society at 1-800-682-0245. Anyone who wants to volunteer at one of the walks also can call that number.
Looking a little farther down the road, the local Alzheimer Society will be holding a “tag day” here June 15-16, and Schonewille is looking for volunteers to donate a couple of hours of their time.
She added high school students who need volunteer hours in order to graduate are welcome to help out.
To get involved, call the toll-free number above.
< *c>Fundraising uses
In response to some questions from the public, Schonewille noted all proceeds from fundraising events go directly to the Alzheimer Society of Kenora-Rainy River District—not to a provincial or national organization.
The work by the local chapter is done by Schonewille and her husband, public education co-ordinator Rev. Dr. Dick Schonewille.
“We work mainly in Alzheimer awareness and education,” she noted. “We get a small amount of money from the ministry [of health], but the money raised really is used so that we can educate and work with individual families in the district.
“It doesn’t go to Toronto or Thunder Bay, or anywhere like that,” she stressed.
Schonewille explained she and her husband give talks to individuals and families, as well as professional caregivers, about the disease, such as how to cope with it and to dispel myths about it.
They do this upon request, free of charge, to the individual, family, or organization.
The job also entails extensive travel as the territory they cover extends from the U.S. border up to Hudson Bay, and from the Manitoba border to Ignace.
Other costs range from rent and utility bills to newsletter printing costs to having a toll-free number people can call.
“If we didn’t do the fundraising, we wouldn’t be here,” Schonewille said.
She also mentioned that only once in a while are funds used for something else.
Last year, for instance, at the request of Rainycrest, Alzheimer Society funds were put towards a special wheelchair designed for Alzheimer patients who have problems with choking when eating or drinking.