Maria Trottier with her mom Julia at the Walk for Alzheimer’s in Smithers Sunday. (Chris Gareau photo)

Maria Trottier with her mom Julia at the Walk for Alzheimer’s in Smithers Sunday. (Chris Gareau photo)

Smithers Walk for Alzheimer’s

The Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s Sunday in Smithers was in honour Julia and Maria Trottier.

On Sunday, thousands of people – parents, grandparents, kids, grand kids and family and friends – gathered across B.C. to help raise awareness and funds to support people affected by dementia at the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s. The Smithers Walk was at Investors Group on Alfred Avenue.

The Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s is Canada’s biggest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and sends a message of inclusion and hope to people affected by the disease. The fun and family-friendly event took place in over 20 communities across the province. Each event is dedicated to an honouree – an individual or group affected by dementia, or who has invaluably contributed to the lives of people living with the disease. At the Smithers Walk, Julia and Maria Trottier were honoured.

Julia Trottier has assumed a multitude of roles over the years, all of which came with the satisfaction of serving others. Now, far along her dementia journey, Julia’s ability to help has diminished, but her desire has remained.

“It means a lot for her to be able to help people, because she still remembers that later,” said her daughter and sole care provider Maria. “She’s thrilled to feel of use, to feel that she’s still needed. She wants to make people feel better.”

Julia gave time to the Lions Club, Salvation Army, her church and anyone who needed it, added Maria. She still offers her reflexology services and when her children were young, she sewed Halloween costumes for many children in school plays.

Julia once travelled with her husband to Wisconsin to help locals build a massive cross atop their church, a three-month experience that she held dear her whole life. It was when Julia stopped going to church and began neglecting her domestic tasks that her family knew something was wrong. Julia was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our community honourees are such an integral part of our Walk. With 55 per cent of Canadians saying they would not share a dementia diagnosis with their friends, our honourees’ grace and courage in sharing their story helps us reduce the stigma associated with the disease. Honourees also let other people on the dementia journey know they are not alone,” said Angie Kok, manager resource development at the Alzheimer Society of B.C., in a press release.

Funds raised will connect British Columbians affected by dementia with local support and education, and help enable research into the causes of and the cure for the disease, so we can look towards a world without dementia.