Tribune Express - - ACTUALITÉS NEWS -

FRANCIS RACINE A recent heat­wave and count­less blis­ters couldn’t stop Da­vid Mer­paw from rea­ching Hawkesbury on Au­gust 21.

“I wan­ted to bring awa­re­ness to Alzheimer’s,” he ex­plai­ned in a confe­rence room at the lo­cal Alzheimer’s So­cie­ty. “It’s an in­vi­sible disease and it’s ve­ry cruel.”

While some do­nate mo­ney or their time to the Alzheimer’s So­cie­ty, Mer­paw de­ci­ded to do so­me­thing a lit­tle dif­ferent. Star­ting in Ha­mil­ton, he ran eve­ry day in or­der to reach his fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, his ho­me­town. His run brought him to eight dif­ferent Alzheimer So­cie­ties.

Mer­paw ex­plai­ned that he ex­pe­rien­ced the disease through one of his close friends. “His fa­ther de­ve­lo­ped Alzheimer’s,” he star­ted. “It took a big toll on my friend. His fa­ther couldn’t even re­co­gnize him any­more.”

It wasn’t the ath­lete’s first brush with long dis­tance run­ning. Last year, he ran from King­ston to Corn­wall, again in the hopes of rai­sing awa­re­ness for the disease. “I stron­gly be­lieve that eve­ry Ca­na­dian knows so­meone with Alzheimer’s,” he said. “I want people to know the mes­sage I’m car­rying.”

Mer­paw’s 2017 run ma­na­ged to col­lect $3,500. “We can’t cure Alzheimer’s,” he said, ad­ding that “we can on­ly slow it down.”

Li­ving with Alzheimer’s

For Jac­que­line Mé­nard, the disease hits home. Her hus­band of 56 years suf­fers from it. “It’s ve­ry hard being a ca­re­gi­ver to so­meone with Alzheimer’s,” she said emo­tio­nal­ly. “It takes a toll on you. But I love my hus­band ve­ry much. I’ve ta­ken care of him.

She than­ked the lo­cal Alzheimer’s So­cie­ty for the pa­tience they de­mons­tra­ted with her. “I came here quite by accident,” she re­cal­led. “I sim­ply wal­ked in and they lis­te­ned to me and they real­ly hel­ped me. They give you a key here, that opens so ma­ny doors.”

The wo­man, now a re­sident of the McGill ma­nor, along with her hus­band, stres­sed that she doesn’t know what would have hap­pe­ned wi­thout the So­cie­ty. “I thought I was the on­ly one going through this,” she said. “But thanks to all the vo­lun­teers and staff mem­bers here, I rea­li­zed that I’m not.”

The Alzheimer’s So­cie­ty in­vites anyone who is af­fec­ted by Alzheimer’s disease to vi­sit them at their of­fice, in the Hawkesbury mall’s se­cond sto­rey.

—pho­to Francis Racine

Jac­que­line Mé­nard, Ma­rie Ro­chon, toutes deux proches d’in­di­vi­dus at­teint de la ma­la­die d’Alzheimer, ain­si que Jac­que­line Bru­net, co­or­di­na­trice pour la So­cié­té de l’Alzheimer de Hawkesbury, pose fiè­re­ment avec Da­vid Mer­paw. Ce­lui-ci a tra­ver­sé l’On­ta­rio à pied afin d’amas­ser des fonds pour la ma­la­die. L’an der­nier, M. Mer­paw avait amas­sé 3500 $ en cou­rant de King­ston à Corn­wall.

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