Organizers of the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s Vernon and Area 2021 have struck on a golden idea.
With the virtual event being held throughout the month of May, the local committee plans to issue a call to local government, business and care facilities where so many people reside who need and access to Alzheimer’s services, as well as their families, whenever this pandemic permits them.
“Our committee came up with the Golden Challenge,” said event chairperson Patrick Vance, 44, father of two, who lost his grandmother in 2018 to the disease. “It’s simple. The challenge is to enroll at least half of your organization’s membership in the walk, regardless of whether participants donate money or not. This will send a message to ASBC (Alzheimer’s Society of B.C.), the province, and everyone who participates that we take Alzheimer’s seriously.”
With the financial uncertainty of COVID and the inability to hold an event, the committee had to consider what would be the best long-term impact driver for this endeavour.
“With the walk being held all month long, we realized we had an opportunity to drive participation, unlike a single fixed date,” said Vance. “Since we know it’s hard to ask for money during this time, we wanted to drive participation numbers to include as many people as possible. This fits with our long-term strategy to achieve our future fundraising potential, and we feel those who can donate will do so of their own accord.”
Organizers in the North Okanagan will talk to all councils as well as community institutions like the RCMP, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Okanagan Regional Library, chambers of commerce, then follow that up with calls to industry leaders, asking the largest businesses to set an example for others in their industry to follow, i.e., lawyers, vehicle dealerships, financial institutions. And there will be a call to societies and service groups.
“We hope that we will get high engagement with such a low barrier to entry,” said Vance. “And while it may seem counterintuitive to express enthusiasm about enrolment without donation, we want the community to know that we consider awareness to be the most valuable weapon in our fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
Many people go without access to services, said Vance, simply because they are not aware they exist.
“Families and individuals lose precious time they can never get back,” he said. “So just by participating, people will know more about this disease and be better equipped to help their families and friends when the time comes.”
Vance said 70 per cent of ASBC funding comes from fundraising and the community while 30 per cent comes from federal grants, which allows the offer of First Link services, an outreach and resource referral system designed to connect people with help.
In the last week of May, organizers will issue an all-out push to get residents walking, riding, shuffling or anything they feel lives up to the society’s Walk Your Way in May slogan.
“We’ll be asking them to wear blue with yellow highlights where possible, as this will symbolize how ASBC uses the forget-me-not flower,” said Vance. “We hope people will simply wear these colours when out and about as well, as people seeing others in these colours will share a sense of camaraderie and community.”
Residents can use the hashtag #IGWalkForAlz and tag the community they’re walking in.
The local walk’s social media page on Facebook — IG Wealth Management Walk For Alzheimer’s: Vernon and Area 2021 — will be used to promote and share the stories of all the organizations that become Golden Challengers, as well as showing all the people in the region who participated and shared their stories and pictures.
Anyone seeking information or help registering can email email@example.com.