At 15, Lily Edmunds is already known within her community as an avid track and cross country runner, but that’s not all.
Since 2013, she’s been working hard to support those in need in York Region by raising thousands of dollars through more than 30 charity runs and by starting her own foundation called Fur-Ever Friendz, providing stuffed animals to people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia as therapy companions.
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“I had a great-grandmother Ruby and she was in late stages of Alzheimer’s and it impacted our family greatly. I miss her a lot,” said Edmunds.
The loss of Ruby inspired Lily to purchase new soft toys with the help of the money she received from winning RBC’s Making 150 Count in celebration of Canada’s anniversary. Not only does she deliver these items throughout the year, Lily makes sure that she takes the time to visit each client in the day program at the Alzheimer Society of York Region.
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“It’s so great to see someone young really focusing their attention on a disease like dementia,” said Linda Clemow, Director of Philanthropy at the Alzheimer Society of York Region.
“15,000 people in York Region have dementia. It’s not a normal part of aging.”
“Stuffed animals are considered a therapy item for people with Alzheimer’s. It’s something that they can hug and have as a companion alongside them,” said Edmunds.
“One in eleven people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s or dementia and that increases to one in three over age 85,” said Clemow.
Edmunds is trying to do her part in addressing this issue.
“I hope to raise enough money to donate it to Alzheimer’s researchers so that we can find the cure. Unfortunately, there was no cure for my great-grandmother but I hope I can help other people,” said Edmunds.
“Alzheimer’s clients are sometimes forgotten about near the holidays and it’s really nice to see them happy.”