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Walk and make memories matter

Submitted by Marg Rodgers

Join the Alzheimer Society of B.C. on Sunday, May 7, 2017 for Canada’s biggest fundraiser for dementia, the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s. The Walk will take place in 22 communities across the province, and each Walk will honour someone affected by dementia.
In Kamloops, the honouree is Marilyn VanDongen.

VanDongen is a very expressive, social, and lively woman. She is a wife, a mother, a friend, and the fact that she is a lifetime member of the Catholic Women’s League is a true testament of her sincere commitment to something she believes in. She was born and raised in New Westminster, B.C. and met her husband Casey at midnight on New Year’s Eve in 1972. She had been working and made it to the dance just in time for a New Year’s Eve kiss. In VanDongen’s words, “He came for a kiss, and then came back for seconds. We have been married for 43 years!”

VanDongen is a life member of the Catholic Women’s League. Right from the beginning she was very involved with numerous aspects of the Catholic Women’s League, her passion and a source of joy. VanDongen held most positions within that organization and then things started to change.

“I was all mixed up. I knew something was wrong. I was asked to be the provincial president in 2009 and I knew I couldn’t do the job but I had ‘reasons’ why I felt this way; I was burnt out, and my mom had died. I thought that’s what was wrong.” Then her vision became drastically impaired and she was no longer able to perform tasks related to numbers. For someone who was treasurer for the CWL and did her husband’s books for years, that was difficult to adjust to.

During an Early Stage Support Group that VanDongen attends at the Alzheimer Society of B.C., she shared that she can no longer understand written words. “I need someone to read my mail and emails for me. I can no longer read or write,” she said.

VanDongen appreciates the support she receives from that group as the other members can relate to the feelings associated with the changes they are experiencing. Regarding her diagnosis, she says, “It’s important to let people know. Other people started noticing as I
wasn’t myself anymore.”

“Casey and I had ‘the talk’ and he said, ‘I love you even more and I will always be there for you.’ I felt instant relief and so secure.” Marg Rodgers, the volunteer chair of the Kamloops Walk, says, “The Walk is an opportunity for friends and families to come together to walk a few steps or take many steps to honour those facing this disease. Your donations help support families and individuals like Marilyn, while we search for a cure.”

The Kamloops Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s will take place on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at the Tournament Capital Centre, 910 McGill Rd. Registration is at 9 a.m., with the Walk at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit walkforalzheimers.ca or contact Marg Rodgers at 250-377-8200.



Quizzing the Candidates

BC Votes this May 9th and to help you become acquainted with our local candidates and some of the key issues, Jared MacArthur posed several questions to all eight of them. The first two questions regarding healthcare and housing are featured this month and appear at the link in their entirety. Part two of this feature will appear next month with the last three questions answered.

Read more

A core volunteer

A core volunteer

Thelma has been volunteering for Oncore Seniors Society for nearly three years.
“Volunteering is a big part of who I am,” said Thelma.
No stranger to lending a hand, Thelma has a long history of volunteerism — including ushering at the Sagebrush Theatre and her involvement with B.C. Interior Community Services — just to name a few. Presently, she assists with the Better at Home program at Oncore. Better at Home offers a basket of non-medical services to assist seniors who want to live at home, but who may be experiencing some challenges in doing so. Through the program, Thelma participates with the grocery shopping services and she is a good morning caller. As a good morning caller, volunteers make daily calls to seniors — checking in. And for those requiring assistance with their grocery shopping, Thelma may just be your ticket.“ I say, if you have a bit of time to spare and can help out in any way please don’t be shy, come out and see or call Kirsten, Lorraine or Theresa at Oncore Seniors Society; I guarantee they will greet you with the most friendly welcome and a biggest smile.”
Thank you Thelma, and so many other special volunteers for making a difference!
As April 23-29 is Volunteer Week, be sure to acknowledge the volunteers in your life. They really do make a positive impact in our community.