‘Absolutely incredible’ Calgary man enlists help of fellow seniors to raise money for Alzheimer’s

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WATCH: Getting out and taking part in active fundraising events can be a real physical challenge for many older people. But the people at one Calgary seniors lodge aren’t letting anything stop from participating in an event led by a man who knows what a difference it can make. Gil Tucker has the story. – Sep 24, 2019

When Ron Freckleton started organizing a fundraiser at the Calgary seniors building he lives in, he came up with a catchy name for it – the Walkers Walk.

“A bit of fun, really,” Freckleton said. “A percentage of our residents here do have walkers.”

Many of them will be out using them in an upcoming walk around Trinity Lodge, raising money to support the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary.

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It’s a disease several Trinity residents are familiar with.

“My brother had it for about 15 years, my mother had it,” Ruth Levitt said.

“Alzheimer’s is horrible, but slowly we’re understanding more and more.”

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The disease had a huge impact on Freckleton’s life, after it hit his wife, Joan.

“Joanie had Alheimer’s for 10 years and I took care of her on my own,” Freckleton said. “Eventually Joanie had to go to a care centre and she died three months after that.”

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Freckleton organized the Walkers Walk because many of his fellow residents at the lodge would find it too physically challenging to take part in an upcoming public fundraising walk for the Alzheimer’s Society.

He has also raised money by growing dahlias around Trinity Lodge and asking people for a $10 donation to ‘adopt’ one.

Freckleton chose dahlias because they were his wife’s favourite flowers.

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“Joan just loved them,” Freckleton said. “We grew so many of them in our little house.”

Trinity residents really appreciate having them at several locations around the lodge’s grounds.

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Freckleton also raised money by selling calendars featuring photos he’d taken of the dahlias.

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He also wrote a book, “Our Time to Say Goodbye”, about his experiences dealing with his wife’s dementia.

With proceeds from sales of the book, combined with his dahlia-related fundraising, Freckleton has been able to donate about $16,000 to the Alzheimer’s Society.

“He’s absolutely incredible. a phenomenal support for us,” the said Sarah Salus from the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary.

Hundreds of Calgarians will participate in the annual Alzheimer’s Walk and Run on Sunday Oct 13.

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The Walkers Walk at Trinity Lodge takes place Friday Sept. 27, with many residents eager to show their support.

“I’ve seen so many people that don’t remember anything,” resident Marie Schmidt said. “So always, if you can help in any way, then you do.”

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“I’m very happy that we’re able to help,” Freckleton said. “I think (Joan) would be very proud of me.”

“Ron is wonderful,” Levitt said. “May God bless him and give him many years of health and happiness.”

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