When Sidney residents Annemarie and Geoff Travers decided to take action to support people affected by dementia, they did it in a way that reflected the long and arduous journey people impacted by the disease – including Geoff’s sister Kathy – often travel.
Annemarie and Geoff embarked on a two-month trek along the Camino de Santiago to not only honour Kathy, but to raise funds and awareness to support other people living with dementia. The couple will share their story alongside a lineup of other speakers for Breakfast to Remember, presented by Trillium Boutique Senior Living.
It took seven weeks for Annemarie and Geoff to walk 900 kilometres from Montpellier, France to Lugrono, Spain. Through the people they met along the way to the people supporting them back home, they broke down the stigma surrounding dementia and raised more than $12,000 for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
The trip ultimately revealed parallels between taking on a physical and emotional challenge in a foreign environment with the challenges of living with dementia. Kathy walked beside them on the trail for five days and shared her insights into what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease – adding to this powerful and unforgettable experience.
At the fundraiser, Const. Andrea Toombs, a crime prevention officer with Saanich Police, will join Geoff and Annemarie to speak about her development of training to better equip local police officers with the knowledge and skills they need to support and respond to people living with dementia in the community.
University of Victoria PhD student Tomiko Yoneda, an Alzheimer Society Research Program funding recipient and former Alzheimer Society of B.C. First Link Dementia Helpline volunteer, will round out the morning’s talks when she shares insights from her research into improving early screening assessments and treatments for dementia.
“An estimated 70,000 people in B.C. are living with dementia and its impact reaches all corners of every community in the province,” says Alzheimer Society of B.C. chief executive officer Maria Howard. “This event is an opportunity to learn more about dementia and understand more deeply the role we can all play in making our Island communities more dementia friendly.”
Breakfast to Remember is Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Victoria Conference Centre at 7 a.m. Purchase tickets at breakfasttoremember.ca.