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Walk for Alzheimer’s aims to raise funds, build community

By: Geralyn Wichers

Posted: 06/6/2018 8:00 AM

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The upcoming Steinbach Walk for Alzheimer’s gives families a way to build community, remember their loved ones, and fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

"It’s in the family, better fight it," Lois Gresiuk said.

This is the fifth year Gresiuk will join her family in the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s. The walk raises funds for the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.

Gresiuk remembers her family caring for her grandfather as the disease took away his independence. She was a young child at the time.

"It turns your grandpa into something really weird and nasty," she said, recalling how they had to follow him around the yard. They did their best to love and respect him, but it was difficult.

Gresiuk’s dad, Leonard Barkman, lost his mother to Alzheimer’s. He wondered with dread—would he also get the disease?

Then the long-time pastor began to forget little things like what traffic signs meant. He was diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s and now lives in a personal care home.

"You lose your dad without losing his body," Gresiuk said. "You hear his voice."

She said the walk builds community. So much of dealing with the disease is done behind closed doors, or within your immediate family. Walking together shows that "you’re not alone," Gresiuk said.

As she walks, she slips between enjoying the camaraderie and wishing her dad could walk with her—championing the cause, not fighting the disease.

This year’s walk takes place tomorrow, June 7, at 5:30 p.m. under the picnic shelter at A.D. Penner Park in Steinbach. It includes a barbecue supper. Visit alzheimer.mb.ca/wfa2018 to learn more.

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