REGINA – Hundreds of people from across Regina and southern Saskatchewan gathered inside the gym at the U of R in support of Alzheimer’s awareness month.
In the crowd was 94 year-old Fred Bodnaryk, who is no stranger to Regina’s annual Walk for Alzheimer’s. In fact, he’s a fundraising pro.
“I was the highest in Saskatchewan and the highest in Canada as an individual,” said Bodnaryk.
For anyone in attendance, raising $9,000 in one year would be difficult, but not for Bodnaryk.
“My wife was in the nursing home and we are raising money for her Alzheimer’s, she had Alzheimer’s”
“61 years I lived with her. 61 years.”
It’s been five years she passed, but it’s clear that she wasn’t just his wife but also his joy and best friend.
“We married in 19.. [taking a few seconds to remember] 1946,” he laughed. “61 years I lived with her. 61 years.”
It’s why he makes the trek from Yorkton to Regina every year for the walk. It’s that kind of motivation that drives the hundreds of people in attendance.
According the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan over 18,000 people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. By 2038, that number is expected to skyrocket to over 28,000 people.
“That segment of our population is growing quite significantly. So, this is a huge issue for Saskatchewan,” said Joanne Bracken, the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan.
“I’m always going to support this one and it makes a difference.”
With an aging population in the province, the Alzheimer Society needs all the support they can get.
“Across the whole province we’re hoping to raise $180,000 and at our location here in Regina we’re hoping to raise $60,000,” added Bracken.
Global Regina’s news anchor Whitney Stinson and sports anchor Derek Myers were the emcees for the afternoon event. For Myers, supporting the cause was personal.
“I’m always going to support this one and it makes a difference. It’s not necessarily just about finding a cure but also the medicines and the advancements that they’re making. Like my grandmother lived for over a decade with Alzheimer’s, by herself after my grandpa passed away.”
Even without a cure yet, supporters were optimistic and enjoying the day’s festivities.
Bodnaryk is one of them and remains hopeful, though not afraid to admit that the disease definitely takes a toll.
It’s very hard to explain but once you go through it then you know what it’s like.”Follow @BrandonGonez