Man skating for 19 hours and 26 minutes in Saskatoon for Alzheimer’s research

Click to play video: 'Skating for 19 hours 26 minutes in support of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan' Skating for 19 hours 26 minutes in support of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: Man skating to raise money for Alzheimer's research – Jan 22, 2020

Steve McNeil is starting one of his skating marathons in Saskatoon on Wednesday and it’s for a good cause.

The Toronto man is travelling across the country raising awareness and money for research to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

READ MORE: U of R research team granted $3M to help dementia patients in rural Saskatchewan

Beginning at 5 p.m. at Cameco Meewasin skating rink, McNeil will take to the ice and continue to skate for 19 hours and 26 minutes.

“Every penny raised while I’m in Saskatoon stays in Saskatchewan. Each community I go to, I skate for that community and I just try to raise some awareness on behalf of my mother who battled Alzheimer’s for 20 years.”

The number in McNeil’s 1926 Skate for Alzheimer’s event has a meaning close to his heart — it is the year his mother was born.

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“I thought of a way I could try to get back. I didn’t think skating for 19 minutes and 26 seconds would really catch people’s attention. So I kicked it up a notch and decided to pay tribute to my mother and skate in honour of the year she was born,” he said.

He said his long skates are also motivated by the music of Australian rock band AC/DC.

“That’s all I listen to as my musical tribute to (AC/DC rhythm guitarist) Malcolm Young, who passed from dementia in 2017.”

READ MORE: Calgary dementia patients take a trip down memory lane through music

Last February, while skating in Alberta, he said he was called and congratulated by the band. They also donated $19,260 for the Alzheimer’s music program across Canada.

“It’s the phone call I probably would most want in my lifetime. And it’s a pretty cool feeling,” McNeil said.

“It was like plugging me into a wall. And now I’m kind of unstoppable… I just use that as my motivational tool as I get through the wee hours of the night. Just turning laps and tune it out.”

McNeil welcomes anyone to join him at any time during his skates.

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“The really cool thing about what I do is I’m constantly meeting people at the side of the facilities that I skate at that are coming over and bringing me a coffee

“Telling me about their mother or their father or grandmother, somebody in the family who’s battled with this horrible disease. And it’s pretty cool feeling knowing that you’re a sounding block for someone who needs to get something off their chest every once in a while.”

McNeil has skated in all seven Canadian NHL cities and this year, he’s doing 12 skates and all 10 provinces.

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