This article is contributed by Lisa Day, communications and fund development coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of York Region
For Newmarket’s Tsilivis family, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is a family affair.
The best part about the walk is “crossing the finish line,” said Louis Tsilivis, whose grandmother Polytimi is living with Alzheimer’s. “We all do it together.”
While Polytimi can no longer walk the full three or five-kilometre route, Louis said his grandmother is happy to cross the finish line with the founder of Team Tsilivis, his sister, Paulina, their dad, Peter Tsilivis, mom Demetria Chios, dog Zoe and their cousin and mom’s mom.
“Afterward, we take the flowers and pinwheels (to a cemetery where both grandfathers are buried) and we visit both of them and leave the flowers and pinwheels. It’s a very heart-warming, fulfilling experience for us.”
Paulina began Team Tsilivis in 2015 as a way to support their grandmother, who first showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.
“She is getting progressively worse,” Louis said. “She has a lot of long-term memories, but a lot of her short and medium-term memories are gone.”
Louis said his grandmother has got lost in her Newmarket neighbourhood and said his family is grateful for amazing neighbours who ensure she gets home safely.
Louis’ dad is his grandmother’s primary caregiver, with “Paulina in a supporting role”. The family also has a “big Greek family” who pull together and help each other, providing a great support system he acknowledges not everyone has.
“Supporting caregivers is very important to me,” said Louis as to why his family raises money in support of the Walk for Alzheimer’s. “I am very happy to support the organization in that regard.”
Team Tsilivis will be walking in support of their grandmother June 8 at Richmond Green Park, 1300 Elgin Mills Rd. from 9 a.m. to noon, although the family tells Polytimi she is walking in support of her younger brother, who is also living with dementia and is currently non-verbal.
The Alzheimer Society of York Region hosts two IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s with the first walk talking place Saturday, May 25 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Briars resort, 55 Hedge Rd., in Jackson’s Point.
You can visit www.walkforalzheimers.ca to register individually or form a team and raise funds to support that more than 15,000 York Region residents living with the disease.
“It’s really important to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. As our society ages, we are going to have to deal with caregivers” who will be stretched thin. “It’s an important cause to put on people’s radar.”