Not many 10-year-olds would consider spending their birthday climbing the 2,830 steps up the notoriously challenging Grouse Grind® – but young fundraiser Talia Yorish is determined to make a difference.
2020 marks the her third time in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, a fundraising challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. In past years, participants have climbed North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind® on the last Sunday in September.
This year’s event, in response to physical distancing protocols, runs until September 21 – and now Prince George residents can participate by hiking in their community.
“Every year the Climb for Alzheimer’s falls on or close to my birthday, so conquering Grouse Mountain is my own present to myself,” Talia explains. “I want to raise awareness of the challenges and struggles that families affected by dementia have to face and show that these challenges can be conquered too.”
Talia first took on the challenge in 2018 after witnessing how Lewy body dementia affected her grandmother, Mariam. Lewy body dementia is a form of dementia that has symptoms similar to both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and often progresses rapidly. Talia recalls how it quickly affected Mariam’s memory and ability to do household tasks, and eventually, her ability to eat or go to the bathroom by herself.
“It was hard to see her struggling in her care home,” Talia says. “But I also had fun times playing balloon volleyball, bingo and singing with her and the other residents. My grandma was the funniest and she always made me laugh. She was always smiling and laughing until she left us and I’m thankful for all those memories.”
Talia was one of the top fundraisers for the Climb for Alzheimer’s in 2019, raising more than $1,800 – an amount she hopes to beat this year, with an incredible goal of $2,000. This year’s event has particular importance to her as, sadly, Mariam passed away this past April.
Talia is taking part in the challenge this year to honour her grandmother and help the thousands of families across the province who are affected by dementia.
For this year’s Climb, the Society invites Prince George residents to come together to hike a total of 70,000 kilometres—one kilometre for each individual living with dementia in B.C.— to raise funds and show people on the dementia journey that they are not alone. Participants will be raising money for research and to ensure people affected by dementia can access programs and services through the Society’s First Link® dementia support. It provides support and education for people who are affected by dementia. This programming is crucially important for British Columbian families to feel connected and supported during these unusual times.
If you are planning a hike, please adhere to the current physical distancing recommendations. The Society highly recommends that you check the BC Parks website or another online resource before you leave for your outdoor adventure as some trails may be closed or adapted.
The Climb for Alzheimer’s is generously sponsored by Neptune Terminals and Ecclesiastical Insurance.
For more information about the Climb for Alzheimer’s, visit climbforalzheimers.ca.