A 10-year-old North Vancouver girl is encouraging Lower Mainland residents to lace up their hiking shoes and raise money for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
This month, Talia Yorish is set to tackle the 2,830 steps of the Grouse Grind as part of the Climb for Alzheimer’s, aiming to raise money in honour of her grandmother, Mariam, who battled Lewy body dementia before passing away last April.
“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 said in a news release.
“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.”
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 recalled 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 said.
“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 has done the Grouse climb twice before – in 2019 she raised $1,800 for the cause – and while participants are welcome to sign up for the fundraiser and tackle the North Vancouver trail themselves, the youngster is also encouraging people to log miles in their own communities, too.
For this year’s event, the Alzheimer Society is encouraging residents in each city to band together to hike a total of 70,000 km – one kilometre for each individual living with dementia in B.C. Money raised through the climb will go towards both research and helping people affected by dementia access the necessary programs and services.
Talia first took on the fundraising challenge in 2018 after seeing how Lewy body dementia was affecting her grandmother.
This year, Talia aims to raise $2,000. The campaign ends Sept. 21.
For more information or to sign up to take part in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, visit www.climbforalzheimers.ca