900 km walked for a good cause

Alzheimer Society CTV Van Isle

A local couple trekked from France to Spain to raise funds and awareness for a good cause.

January is Alzheimer's Awareness month, and Geoff and Annemarie Travers, caregivers, volunteers, fundraisers, and residents of Sidney, decided they wanted to do something monumental for the cause.

In December, they walked nearly 900 kilometers from Montpellier, France, to Lugrono, Spain.

Geoff says they had people pledging money for their walk.

"We were talking about this project for about a year before we left. We were talking with friends and family, we talked to a few local business people too, to see if they were interested, and as well as the walk itself, people were pledging as we made the walk across."

The Travers's kept a blog during their walk, and Annemarie says they drew parallels between their trip and the disease. 

"For instance: difficulty with language, feeling disoriented, feeling like there are sudden changes that you don't expect, getting lost.  There's all kind of them that you would experience on a walk like this.  So what we did, we had a blag, and each day we blogged about what our experience was, and then how that related to somebody with Alzheimer's, or their caregivers."

They say the walk wasn't just to raise awareness of the disease, but also of the impacts it has on the family, and on caregivers.

In addition to the walk with his wife, Geoff continued on for another 600 kilometers, where he says he started to draw parallels to how caregivers must feel.

"I was on the trail for 53 days, and I took two rest days in that 53 day period. So by the time you're well along the trail you're pretty tired.  And the caregivers, they're interrupted in their sleep at night, they often don't get well rested, they don't get enough exercise.  So the whole parallel there is: how do you feel after walking for 50-odd days, versus how does somebody feel after months and months and months of caregiving."

The Travers's were inspired by their family's experiences of the disease, and their walk raised over 12-thousand dollars for the Alzheimer Society.

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