Skating for a cause: man spends 20 hours on the ice to raise money for Alzheimer's societies

A Toronto man who is skating his way across Canada to raise money for people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease made a stop in Montreal on Saturday.

Steve McNeil spent 19 hours and 26 minutes skating around a Maisonneuve Park rink. The oddly specific time is a nod to the birth year of his mother who spent 20 years battling Alzheimer’s.

Eight years ago her son decided he had to do something.

“I didn’t think skating for 19 minutes and 26 seconds would catch anybody’s attention,” he said. “I kicked it up a notch and skated for 19 hours and 26 minutes.”

McNeil’s journey will take him to 12 cities total, with at least one stop in each province. Each stop is aimed at raising money for local Alzheimer’s societies.

An estimated 33,000 people in Montreal live with a form of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a number that Alzheimer Society of Montreal’s Camille Isaacs-Morell said is likely to grow.

“The 33,000 will grow to 55,000 which is approximately a 66 per cent increase by the year 2030,” she said.

During his Montreal stop McNeil was joined by Scott, Sean and Mark Broady, three brothers who have helped raise thousands for the cause.

“Let caregivers know they’re not alone,” said Scott Broady. “There’s people out there that are going through the same thing and there’s services available now.”

The four skaters said they were relieved to call it a day after the skate was finally done.

“I take it in seven-hour blocks. From 5 p.m. to midnight, that’s seven hours under my belt,” said McNeil. “Once I hit 7 a.m., that’s 14 hours.”

McNeil’s tour continues with a stop in Prince Edward Island next week.