Personal connection for Vernon Walk For Alzheimer’s chair

Patrick Vance shares how disease took his beloved grandmother; event set for Sunday, May 29, at GVAP

Patrick Vance of Vernon, left, with his late grandmother, Jane, who died at 95 in 2018 from Alzheimer’s Disease. Patrick is the chair of the North Okanagan IG Wealth Management Walk For Alzheimer’s in Vernon Sunday, May 29, at 12 p..m. at Greater Vernon Athletic Park. (Vance family photo)

Patrick Vance of Vernon, left, with his late grandmother, Jane, who died at 95 in 2018 from Alzheimer’s Disease. Patrick is the chair of the North Okanagan IG Wealth Management Walk For Alzheimer’s in Vernon Sunday, May 29, at 12 p..m. at Greater Vernon Athletic Park. (Vance family photo)

A fall off a step-stool led to a hip injury for Jane Vance.

That hip injury would lead to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and take Vance “out of circulation,” said her grandson. In a Fraser Valley care facility where residents had some levels of independence, Jane couldn’t go to breakfast, or lunch, or dinner. She couldn’t go to card games with her friends.

The four walls in her room, said her grandson, were closing in on her.

After a five-year spiral from the fall, Jane Vance died in 2018 from Alzheimer’s at the age of 95.

Vance’s grandson is Vernon’s Patrick Vance, and he is the chair of the North Okanagan IG Wealth Management Walk For Alzheimer’s event slated for 12 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.

He teared up when sharing his story of his beloved grandmother with Vernon council.

“I went to visit her once and for the first five, 10 minutes I was there, she didn’t know who I was. She couldn’t recognize me,” said Vance. “I told her about me, her husband, my dad, and after another 10 minutes or so it clicked. She knew who I was.”

Two hours later, he said, it was time for him to go and as he went to hug his grandmother, she apologized to him for forgetting him, as if it was her fault.

“This disease robs a person of their dignity,” said Vance. “For my grandmother to feel responsible for something out of her control…”

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s flagship fundraising event in support of people affected by dementia.This year, the society will be returning to in-person walks in 21 locations across B.C., including Vernon.

“Join us as we walk together in taking a step toward our vision of a world free from Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, and celebrate the differences we have made in our very own communities,” said Vance.

The North Okanagan event has been rebranded and includes nine North Okanagan-Shuswap municipalities: Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong, Spallumcheen, Enderby, Lumby, Lake Country, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.

The honourary chair family this year is Wally and Marilyn Garrod of Vernon. Wally has frontotempural which according to alzheimer.ca is an umbrella term for a group of rare disorders that primarily affect the areas of the brain associated with personality and behaviour.

Over the past two years, Vance and walk committee members have adapted to rapid changes withing the communities and the event was moved online. The national event last May saw about 10,000 Canadians show their support for people affected by dementia, and raised more than $800,000 in B.C.

Locally, said Vance, more than $10,000 was raised, and the 2022 goal is to top that amount.

More than 70,000 people suffer or are afflicted with dementia in B.C., and Vance said that number is expected to double in the next 12 years.

Donations generate 70 per cent of the funds used to run programs by the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

For more information on the North Okanagan IG Wealth Management Walk For Alzheimer’s, reach out to Vance at northokwalkchair@alzheimerbc.org.

You can also check out www.walkforalzheimers.ca for more details.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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