Vorstermans walks on for Alzheimer’s
The theme for the 23rd Annual IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is Walk 10,006 Steps for 10,006 People Living with Dementia in Simcoe County, and over the past 15 years Matthew Vorstermans has walked 10,006 steps many times over for his Oma Jean, and for people living with dementia in Simcoe County.
Born with Cerebral Palsy, Vorstermans sites his Oma as a great role model growing up.
“Before me, she only had granddaughters and my disability was something she was indifferent to,” says Vorstermans. “She said, ‘I finally have a grandson and I love that.’”
Although they were distanced by miles, he and his Oma talked and wrote to each other often, they shared a very close relationship and special bond. In early 2000, things began to change. Vorstermans admittedly found the repetition in their conversations puzzling and sometimes annoying, and he hoped the lapses were just temporary and would go away. By 2003, he realized that was not to be. For much of his last visit with her she didn’t know who he was, and when he returned home, the phone calls and letters ceased; by 2004 she struggled to identify even herself.
Vorstermans contemplated how he could turn the feelings of sadness and helplessness into positive action and that is when he started walking for Oma.
Vorstermans has since raised more than $45,000 for the Alzheimer Society and his fundraising goal for this year is $5,450 but like last year, due to safety protocols, he will not be going around to collect donations in person and is encouraging people to donate online.
The Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County salutes Vorstermans and all the participants who have walked over the past 23 years.
“The funds raised during the walk stay in our community to support the vital programs and services we provide to people living with dementia and their care partners across Simcoe County. We couldn’t do it without our walkers,” said Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County Debbie Islam, Chief Executive Officer.
“Year over year, we continue to serve more clients, and this year, even in the face of COVID-19, it has been no different,” said Laura Lynn Bourassa, Manager of Education and Support Programs.
“The need for services that draw people together, increase awareness, provide a sense of community and foster social connections is higher then ever. COVID-19 has left many persons living with dementia and their care partners, already at higher risk for social isolation, further isolated and on their own. Education, support and social/recreation programs are key to contributing to this sense of wellness and to alleviating the isolation that many are feeling,” said Bourassa.
Finding a cure is the ultimate goal but until then, every dollar raised in the walk will help provide support, promote public education, awareness and so much more.
The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is the Alzheimer Society’s biggest, nationwide fundraising event of the year. Between now and May 30 walk 10,006 Steps for 10,006 people living with dementia in Simcoe County.
For more information and to donate, visit alzheimersimcoecounty.ca or by calling 705-722-1066.
To donate online to Vorstermans’ campaign, click ‘register today’ search a participant.