More than $55,000 was raised for the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka over the weekend.
The annual Walk for Alzheimer’s was done virtually across Muskoka and Parry Sound, with participants alone raising $42,770 by the time of writing. Through the month of May, participants were also “walking their way” to fundraise, with some opting to walk 2,700 steps– the number of people living with dementia in the region– or 260,000 steps for the number province-wide.
According to Karen Quemby, the organization’s Executive Director, corporate sponsors bumped that number up past the 55-grand mark. She says it’s a far cry from when she joined the organization 19 years ago.
“I’ve been with the Society for 19 years, and [at the start] it was really tough to raise 10 grand. We’d have 100 people out to a walk, and you were lucky to bring in that kind of revenue,” says Quemby. “When you see this [year’s] kind of revenue coming in, we had one participant who raised over 10 grand personally. So to me it’s just phenomenal to see the kind of passion and the support people have for our organization.”
Quemby says all the funds stay local to the region, for programs and services such as music and activity-based therapy, in-home respite, support groups, counseling, and education. The participant goal was set for $40,000 this year, which was more than met.
“It certainly makes me feel great that we were able to meet our goal again this year. That goal was quite significant, because we had such a resounding success last year,” says Quemby. “So I put the goal up to where we were last year, and I wasn’t 100 per cent sure we’d actually meet it. But surprisingly, we did, and it really shows the support of the community.”
Quemby adds the society is hoping to return to a hybrid format next year, allowing people to participate in-person or virtually if they wish.
Although she retires as Executive Director at the end of this month, Quemby says she looks forward to being involved with future walks and the organization in other capacities.
“It’s a great way to go, and it’s an amazing organization, so I don’t think I’ll be going far,” she says.