Spring 2020

A young supporter goes the distance

Issie Grecoff (left) with grandmother Joan Wickett and sister Sara

At just 13, Issie Grecoff became the youngest competitor to complete the Skaha Lake Ultra Swim, an 11.8 kilometre open-swim course in British Columbia.

Marathon swimming requires mental and physical strength and perseverance. Fortunately, endurance is in Issie’s blood. Her grandfather completed two Iron Man marathons when he was in his 40s. Over the last 10 years he has braved an even harder challenge: caring for his wife of 54 years, Joan, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Issie’s grandparents have been a big influence in her life. Seeing her grandmother’s disease progression and the challenges her grandfather has faced inspired Issie to use the swim competition as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “I wanted to try and raise money for something that I care about while swimming,” says Issie. To date, she has raised $4,000 for research into the cause and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Living with dementia: Tanis Rummery

Manitoban Tanis Rummery lives in her own apartment, does her own shopping and volunteers at a pet rescue shelter. She also attends an Alzheimer Society support group for people living with dementia.

Diagnosed with vascular dementia a few years ago, Tanis credits the leadership and friendships she’s formed in her support group with keeping her spirit strong. “It’s been a lifesaver,” she says.

Tanis believes it’s important to be open and honest about living with dementia. “When I’m out in the community, I’m not afraid to tell people so I can get the help I need,” she explains. “Once they see us as people who just need a little help sometimes, they’ll see us as who we are: people who are living their lives in their own way with dementia.”


  • Ask for information
  • Develop a reliable support system
  • Take the time to take care of yourself
  • Cherish every moment and every memory

A caregiver's perspective: Heather Inglis

Heather (left) with her mom, Gloria

After my mom retired, she became something of a super-volunteer. She was always the first to help others. But when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she became the one who needed help.

It’s been challenging, but thankfully I found an Alzheimer Society support group for caregivers where I live in Ashcroft, B.C. On days when I am not able to attend the group, I get calls to make sure I’m okay.

One of my biggest frustrations is that people don’t understand dementia. I encourage everyone to educate yourself about the disease, be patient with those diagnosed, and don’t forget to check on the caregiver.

For caregiver support programs near you, visit alzheimer.ca.

Meet our researchers

Dr. Lisa Marie Munter

At McGill University, Dr. Lisa Marie Munter is investigating the role of an enzyme called Rhomboid protease-4 in the formation of amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain. With support from committed donors like you, Dr. Munter and her team are determined to gain a better understanding of the underlying molecular changes that lead to the formation of amyloid and then use that knowledge to stop it.

Dr. Simona Brambati

Dr. Simona Brambati at the University of Montreal is exploring how changes to a person’s speech might be an early indicator of dementia. She and her team are working on a diagnostic tool that will analyse subtle changes in speech and provide a more accurate, faster and earlier diagnosis.

For more on the research you make possible, visit alzheimer.ca/Research.

This one's for you, Mom

Our mother had Alzheimer’s disease and passed away in 2009. She loved watching my sister Cheryl and I dance in competition, and later she enjoyed seeing our students compete in our dance studio.

To honour her memory and in support of families affected by this disease, my sister, nephew and I decided to donate $1 from each entry in our 2019 Coast-to-Coast Dance Competition to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. In total, we raised over $9,000 for this important cause.

– Cathy Coffey, President, Terpsichore Dance Celebration Inc.

Monthly Donor Corner: Why I give

Lina receiving an award for her years of service in the provincial government.

“Alzheimer’s disease runs in my family. My mother had it, although we didn’t realize it at the time. When she was 55 she began to forget things and sometimes she’d wander off. Soon my aunts and two uncles began experiencing the same symptoms, and then one by one, my five sisters were diagnosed. Only one sister is still living but she doesn’t know who I am anymore. I became a monthly donor because I want to help prevent this disease from devastating other families like mine.” – Lina Di Carlo

To become a monthly donor, use our secure online form or contact Dana Lecours at 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2951.

If you are a monthly donor, we would love to hear your story and reason for giving. Please contact Dana at dlecours@alzheimer.ca.

Donor dollars at work: Date Night

Your donations support a range of local programs that help people affected by dementia find community, connection and support. For example, Date Night, offered by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, gives people living with dementia and their spouse or partner the chance to dress up, have dinner, listen to live music and hit the dance floor—all in a supportive, dementia-friendly environment.

To find similar programs in your area, visit alzheimer.ca.

UPDATE: Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Date Night program has been temporarily suspended. Your local Alzheimer Society remains available during this crisis to provide information and support, and many programs and services are being adapted to a virtual format. To find programs currently offered in your area, visit alzheimer.ca.

From our mail bag

Words of inspiration from our supporters:

“Be patient with your loved one as they also love you, even though they might not remember who you are.”

“Memories are stored in many ways, through scents, music, touch, dance. Celebrate together in every way.”

“I find it helpful and positive to enjoy being with my loved one just as they are right now.”

“Laughter at mistakes can lighten the mood. Just roll with it!”

Make a charitable giving checkup

Caroline has included the Alzheimer Society in her will.

A new year is underway. It’s an excellent time to review your finances, plan your estate and consider what you want for your charitable legacy.

According to a survey commissioned by RBC Wealth Management, 52% of Canadian women and 40% of Canadian men plan to distribute their wealth entirely while they’re still alive, or equally during and after their lives.

Take Caroline, for example. She’s leaving a gift in her will to the Alzheimer Society of Canada to honour the memory of her husband and her mother, who both developed dementia simultaneously. Caroline is ensuring her legacy will go toward supporting research to prevent, treat and hopefully, one day cure this disease.

As always, check with a legal advisor and a tax advisor to ensure that your wishes are being fulfilled.

For more information, please contact Dana Lecours at 1-800-616-8816 ext. 2951, by e-mail at dlecours@alzheimer.ca, or visit alzheimer.ca/ GiftInYourWill.

RBC Wealth Management Royal Trust is a proud partner of the Alzheimer Society of Canada Legacy Giving initiatives.