For the past three years, Talia Yorish has spent her birthday doing an activity not many 10-year-olds would likely want to do on their big day.
This year marks the third time Yorish has partaken in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, a fundraising challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
In past years, participants have climbed the Grouse Grind during the last Sunday of September – right around Yorish’s birthday – in order to raise money for the society.
“A couple years ago my grandma was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. That year I climbed for her,” Yorish, who just entered Grade 6, tells the North Shore News.
Lewy body dementia is a form of dementia that has symptoms similar to both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. The disease often progresses rapidly.
Yorish saw firsthand how quickly the disease affected her grandma’s memory and ability to do ordinary tasks.
“It made me feel sad and it was hard for our family,” says Yorish.
Last year Yorish was one of the top fundraisers for the Climb for Alzheimer’s, raising more than $1,800 for the society.
In order to facilitate a physically-distanced fundraiser in the era of COVID-19, this year’s ninth-annual event invites participants to choose where they do their climb in order to raise money.
Starting back in July, B.C. residents have been challenged by the society to walk a collective 70,000 kilometres in honour of the 70,000 British Columbians currently living with dementia.
The multi-month fundraising campaign is wrapping on Sept. 21, which is World Alzheimer’s Day.
This year’s fundraiser has been particularly important for Yorish and her family. Mariam, Yorish’s grandma, passed away in April.
“We’re doing it in memory of my grandma and hoping to raise a lot more money this year,” she says.
She set a goal for herself to raise more than $2,000 this year, which she has already surpassed.
She’s hiked the Grind once this month, and plans to do it a second time in the next few weeks in honour of her grandma and other families across the province who are living with dementia.
More information about this year’s Climb for Alzheimer’s can be found by visiting alzheimerbc.akaraisin.com/ui/climbforalzheimers.
To contribute to Yorish’s specific campaign, go to the website, click “Donate,” and search for “Talia Yorish.”
“It’s a big thing for me,” she says.