Back in 2015, long-time local Erika Durlacher climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
This year, she’s keeping her fundraising a little closer to home with a 5 km walk—called the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s—on Sunday, May 6, starting at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, and going around the nearby golf course.
“It’s our inaugural year,” Durlacher said. “Hopefully next year it will be walk and run up the steps on Blackcomb Mountain.”
Durlacher’s husband, Peter, passed away in 2016 after battling the disease. While funds from the walk—which will also take place in other towns and cities across the province—will go towards local support, education programs and research, Durlacher also hopes it helps raise awareness.
“For me it’s not so much about generating revenue—although that is important for the society to continue its work—but to bring awareness so people aren’t walking alone in the journey,” she says. “It can be a lot of long years. People in the past have had caregivers deceased before the individuals because they’re worn out basically. (It’s) encouraging people to take care of themselves and help give support to take care of people afflicted.”
The Durlachers struggled to stay in Whistler during the years Peter’s disease progressed because of the lack of resources. “We didn’t have many people at the time who remained in the community; I don’t think there was hardly anyone but ourselves. I was determined to stay here. We had been here so many years,” she says.
To that end, she hopes the upcoming walk will help local families struggling with the disease realize they’re not alone. “I feel now I want to be able to help those people if they would like a little support just to carry on,” Durlacher says.
The event is still accepting donations, volunteers and participants. Registration for the walk will start at 10 a.m. at the church, which is at the foot of Lorimer Road. It will culminate with refreshments provided by Nesters Market (they are still accepting sponsors as well).
For more information, or to sign up, visit walkforalzheimers.ca or call Durlacher at 604-932-1924.