Ten-year-old Talia Yorish will celebrate her birthday by joining other local participants and hiking a total of 70,000 kilometres to raise money in a modified, COVID-friendly Climb for Alzheimer’s.
In her third attempt, Yorish’s itinerary changed from North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind to her own backyard in Lake Country.
The Alzheimer’s’s Society of B.C. has invited residents to hike 70,000 km — one kilometre for each individual living for dementia in the province — to raise money and show those with dementia they are not alone.
Money raised will go toward research and ensure those affected can access resources, programs and services through the society’s First Link dementia support.
“Every year the Climb for Alzheimer’s falls on or close to my birthday (last Sunday in September), so conquering Grouse Mountain is my own present to myself,” said Yorish. “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.”
Last year, Yorish was one of the top fundraisers raising more than $1,800 — an amount she hopes to surpass this year with a goal set around $2,000.
Yorish will be tying her laces up once again in honour of her grandmother.
She first tackled the challenge in 2018 after witnessing how Lewy body dementia affected her grandma, Mariam.
Lewy body dementia is a form of dementia that has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s and often progresses rapidly.
Yorish recalled how quickly it affected her grandmother’s memory and ability to complete 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,” she said. “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.”
For those interested in participating in the event that runs until Sept. 21, visit climbforalzheimers.ca.
“If you are planning a hike, please adhere to the current physical distancing recommendations,” the society said in a statement Sept. 8.