Walk for Alzheimer’s moves to May 2021
Walk for Alzheimer’s will happen in 2021, but in Oxford County the date is changing.
“The board of directors of the Alzheimer Society of Oxford has decided to move our Walk for Alzheimer’s to the national Walk for Alzheimer’s date, which is the last weekend of May,” said Shelley Green, Executive Director, Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
The Walk for Alzheimer’s has a long and successful history in Oxford County. Tillsonburg’s 25th anniversary walk in the Lions Auditorium in January 2020 raised $42,000, and Woodstock hosted its 26th annual walk a week later. Combined, the January 2020 fundraising surpassed $184,000 well on their way toward a $200,00 goal.
“For years, our board of directors has decided to continue our Walk for Alzheimer’s in January because of the incredible success that we’ve experienced over the years,” said Green. “Our walks started years and years before the national walk started. We felt we wanted to continue that time frame because of the success in our area.”
However, Green noted almost every single Alzheimer Society in the country has now moved to the national date.
“Our board of directors felt that this was the time to move to the weekend of the national date so that we would gain from national advertising, national strategies for the walk, collaborating within Ontario with other Alzheimer Societies, and gaining some efficiencies through that collaboration.”
The 2021 national Walk for Alzheimer’s will be a virtual event.
In May 2021, the Alzheimer Society of Oxford will be making the walk as local as possible, while at the same time utilizing material from the Alzheimer Society of Ontario and support from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
It will mean connecting with local people who have supported the walk so generously in the past, said Green.
“We will have communications with people who have walked in the past to encourage them to consider how they might like to do the (virtual) walk themselves.”
In May people can be outside walking, maybe walking with people in their own household.
“Other people may want to do something different than a walk,” Green added. “This virtual walk really opens up an opportunity to think of the walk a bit differently. Some people may decide to do biking, or they might walk, or they might run or rollerblade. Or they might do an exercise program at home. Or they may decide to have an afternoon of games.
“Really, that part of it is symbolic. It’s about the fundraising and the support for people who are living with dementia and their care partners in Oxford County. We want to encourage people to continue to utilize all of that great commitment and energy that they’ve given to our organization over the past many years, and to continue to fundraise because their fundraise dollars are going to be absolutely essential. They always have been, but they are extremely important, for sure, this year.
“We certainly want to encourage people to do something, maybe active, in whatever way that looks like. It doesn’t have to be going outside for a walk, but doing something, and really taking that time to think about why they raised the money. And to think about people who are living with, or who have passed away with dementia.”
The Alzheimer Society knows it will be difficult to replicate the significant Lights of Hope ceremony in a virtual world – and some other aspects of the in-person walks – but Green said people understand the situation, still want to help, and still want to make a difference.
“We’re looking at this (pandemic) time as not lasting forever, and doing the best we can given the circumstances.
“Hopefully by May 2022 we will have an in-person walk and we can be together again.”