Each year, when the walk begins recruiting team captains and walkers to participate in the Walk For Dementia, it forces me to pause and think about why this walk is so important to me. For those of you who have followed my journey since my first walk in 2015 until now, you know that I walk for my grandmother Teresina Bernardo.
My grandmother was diagnosed when I was just a little girl and has been living with Alzheimer’s disease for 22 years. While I wished I could have slowed the disease or cured it altogether, I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring back her memories, I eventually couldn’t speak with her, and in the end, the severity of the disease has completely stripped her of her identity and of our relationship with one another.
For someone who hasn’t had Alzheimer’s or a related dementia affect their lives, it’s hard to put into words what the impact truly is. I guess like any other disease, it is a unique impact, one that is never easy to talk about. I recently opened up about what a challenge it truly is for me to talk about Alzheimer’s disease or mental health publicly, how I’ve had to train myself to not let my emotions escape me and to remain strong. One reason I love this walk so much is because I don’t have to speak, I can find solace in being surrounded by people who can relate ... walking alongside me.
Despite my own emotional struggle in accepting the impact this disease has had on my grandmother and family, I know how important it is to raise awareness and to fundraise. I commit to this walk each year because although I can’t share my day with my grandmother; invite her over to my first home; introduce her to my puppy; and tell her how much she inspires me on a daily basis; I can walk, I can speak out, and I can fundraise. Because I can do all of this for her, I do it without hesitation.
I walk today because I know that what I do now will have a positive impact tomorrow.
Whether dementia has touched your life or not, I encourage you to join me in making a difference in our community by walking or by making a donation today!
Your donation will directly benefit the thousands of people in the Ottawa and Renfrew County area who are living with dementia by funding:
- Guidance and support for over 4,100 people annually
- Social and peer engagement programs for caregivers and people with dementia
- Education on many topics related to dementia
- Information and resources to ensure caregivers and their loved ones with dementia have what they need to navigate the dementia journey
Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and thank you for helping me to reach my fundraising goal.
Thank you from my family to yours,
*While I unfortunately will not be in town this year to walk, my goal is to increase my past fundraising efforts with your support. Please help me in achieving my goal by sharing my page with your friends and family, which in turn helps us to raise awareness for this important cause.*
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