Altitude for Alzheimer’s

Gordon Jones, a Local 115 member, is raising awareness for Alzheimer’s through his 10,000m bike climb. Gord

In addition to being a busy husband, father of 4, and working full time at Foothills Medical Centre, Gordon Jones has decided to do something spectacular in riding for Alzheimer’s. His goal is to climb 10,000 m in one ride to raise $10,000 for Alzheimer’s disease. His ride starts in the middle of the night on June 24th, where he will continue to bike gaining elevation in hopes to reach 10,000m. Gordon estimates that it will take him 24-26 hours of straight riding to reach his goal.

Gordon’s inspiration came from his mother’s diagnosis. He has blogged beautifully about his journey on the bike, as well as his personal account of his mother’s disease. Here is a snippet:

“So what’s the connection with my ride, and with Alzheimer’s? Here it is: I’ve been wondering how to write about my perspective on my mum’s journey for a while now, and I’ve never been able to figure out a way to. I think I’ve got it now. As my mum lives with Alzheimer’s what I realize more and more is the amount of work she has done, and that she has to do, on a daily basis just to try to live her life.

From the outside, all you and I see are the slips, the memory failure, the confusion. But we don’t know what she does to try to maintain her function. The calendaring, the post it notes, the humiliation of having to have something repeated moments later. Feeling you should to be able to remember something, but just not being able to. Wanting to be able to understand something that in your prime, was a simple concept, but now, you just can’t pin down. The other thing that I don’t see is how much she must struggle to keep that calendar in order. How she must look at the rows of post its in her house, and have absolutely no memory of the context in which they were written. Imagine seeing your own writing and being unable to remember ever writing it down. I know that I don’t often enough stop and recognize the tremendous amount of effort my mum must put forth just to go through her day.

When I’ve been under the weather a couple of times, I take time off from training. When I crashed my bike, I put it back on the trainer, where at least I can’t crash. My mum doesn’t have that luxury. Every single day, for the rest of her life, she will be required to put forth an enormous effort just to move through the world. A world that will only get harder and more alien to her despite her efforts.

It’s heartbreaking to know that she will lose the race. All the preparation, all the hard work, all the hardship, will be for naught. To stick with the analogy, mum did the work and she continues to fight, but in the end she will succumb to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Gordon welcomes everyone to come and show your support on the day of the climb. All of the money Gordon raises goes directly to the Alzheimer’s society to support the First Link program, which connects patients and their families to the Alzheimer’s Society. You can read more on Gordon’s blog: https://tenthousandfortenthousand.wordpress.com/ and donate on his page: http://my.e2rm.com/PersonalPage.aspx?registrationID=3695090&langPref=en-CA