The annual IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s usually takes place on one day. Due to the pandemic, people are encourages to find a time in May to walk and raise funds for the cause. In Kamloops this year, the Walk for Alzheimer’s is honouring Anne and Mel Campbell, members of the community who have been affected by dementia.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is encouraging residents of the Kamloops area to register for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, an online fundraiser that is taking place throughout May.
Due to pandemic-related gathering restrictions, the 2021 event will be a Walk Your Own Way initiative, meaning anyone anywhere in the province can take part.
“This past year has been full of unprecedented challenges, particularly for people living with dementia and their care partners,” Alzheimer Society of B.C. interim CEO Barbara Lindsay said. “Fundraisers like the walk help enable the Society to continue providing support and resources, which are needed more than ever.”
Throughout May, area residents can set themselves a challenge — such as walking, running or dancing — while fundraising to support people living with the disease and their care partners. An online celebration on Sunday, May 30 will end the month of activity.
In past, the Walk for Alzheimer’s typically took place in person in more than 20 communities across the province, including Kamloops. Funds raised during the event help fund the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s online programs, education and services for people in communities across the province.
While the pandemic negatively impacted so many services across the country last year, Canadians came together to participate in the first ever virtual walk, raising more than $5.1 million.
Visit walkforalzheimers.ca to donate, register and set up a personal fundraising page to start planning how you are going to walk your own way.
In Kamloops, the Walk is honouring Anne and Mel Campbell
In Kamloops this year, the Walk for Alzheimer’s is honouring Anne and Mel Campbell, members of the community who have been affected by dementia.
Mel’s philosophy is: “You work hard and you get the reward for it.”
When he and Anne look back through the old photo albums she made for each year of their lives together, this outlook couldn’t be more true.
“There’s a lot of history,” Anne said. "Each album tells a story of the wonderful things we have been able to do together during our 55 years of marriage."
Among their proudest moments are raising their two children and seeing them graduate and begin careers of their own. Anne and Mel also welcomed grandchildren into their lives.
Catching a 30-pound salmon also makes Mel’s list of achievements.
“Sometimes Mel would go up to Bella Coola with a group of family and friends while I held down the fort,” Anne said.
Holding down the fort was no small task. Mel and Anne owned a successful electrical company in Kelowna and, after they retired, spent the next 24 years running a cattle ranch in the Shuswap.
It was after Mel’s diagnosis of dementia that the couple decided to leave the ranch and move to Kamloops to be closer to family and medical resources.
When Mel first started showing symptoms of memory loss, his doctor immediately referred him to the UBC Centre for Brain Health in Vancouver. By the time the Campbells returned home, the UBC Centre had already sent Mel's referral to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. for support, requesting that the couple register for Minds in Motion, a fitness and social program for people in the early stages of dementia and a care partner.
“At the beginning, Mel was hesitant to talk about his diagnosis with anybody, even family and friends,” Anne said. “Now that we’re in the program, he’s come to accept it because we’re in a group of people who are in similar circumstances. It’s become much easier to talk about the disease and accept the changes.”
This turned out to be a pivotal factor in their dementia journey. The program has enabled Mel and Anne to meet people, build a support network and feel welcomed in their new community.
“Mel’s social,” Anne said. “He has a positive personality and he hasn’t lost this trait.”
Whether running a business, working together on the ranch, raising their family or navigating new challenges that come along with dementia, their approach to life keeps the Campbells positive.
“My objective is to have patience and understanding with Mel,” Anne said. “If you have acceptance and positivity, you’ll do well.”