Being experienced distance walkers, we see some parallels between the Alzheimer's journey and our planned Camino. We have purposely chosen a longer distance in an effort to reflect on and perhaps replicate the much longer and arduous journey experienced by those impacted by Alzheimers and their caregivers. Like them, we expect many challenges to emerge as our journey unfolds. We know there will be good days and bad days. Given neither of us are fluent in French or Spanish, we expect challenges making ourselves understood and finding the right words; a common problem for those living with Alzheimer's. From time to time we may even feel a little disoriented and outside our comfort zone. Also we know that trying to stay present and appreciate the special moments may occasionally prove difficult, especially as unexpected trials arise. All of these examples are challenges commonly experienced by people living with Alzheimer's. We expect many other parallels will emerge as we progress on this journey and we will be sharing them in our blog as we find them.
Although we will train and prepare to the best of our abilities, when we set off on this Camino we will find comfort in the support of our team at home, and from words of encouragement and support from those who choose to follow our blog.
|La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653|
February 14: We travelled to Vancouver to meet with Theresa who coordinates the Anything For Alzheimer's program for the Alzheimer Society to discuss our event. Lots to do!
February 17: While in Vancouver we discussed our Camino plans with Kathy and Bob who responded very positively. As a result, we are hopeful that early in our Camino they will both be able to join us in France. Kathy has expressed a sincere desire to walk a portion of each stage with us for up to a week. This would be amazing!
February 19: Flights booked to Montpellier! No going back now:)
February 21: Meeting with the Canadian Company of Pilgrims to request permission to put our blog on their website and a link on their Facebook Group page closer to departure. Good suggestions for other ways to increase our profile.
February 22: Attended the high profile Breakfast To Remember at the Empress as guests of the local office of the Alzheimer Society. Two high profile speakers, Jack Knox of the Times Colonist and Bob Lenarduzi, GM, Vancouver Whitecaps eloquently presented their family dementia stories.
March 24: We attended the annual day long gathering of the Victoria's Chapter, Canadian Company of Pilgrims where there were some great presentations and lots of opportunity to share experiences. Mary, who heads up the local chapter kindly arranged a table for us to inform participants about our up-coming fall camino. Lots of interest and good discussions! Very grateful for this opportunity. Thanks Mary!
April 18: Kathy and Bob are coming on Camino with us! They will meet us in Castres on Sept 26th and Kathy will walk part days with us to Toulouse. When we return in late May from walking in Sicily, Malta and Ireland we will firm up plans and book a couple more air tickets for them. Great development!
May 28: We have just returned from an amazing walk across central Sicily with onward travels through Malta and NW Ireland. Lots of good experiences and time to reflect on our upcoming Camino this fall. While we were away the Canadian Co. of Pilgrims kindly contacted us to write a piece for their upcoming newsletter about the Camino For Alzheimer Awareness. This will help continue our efforts to get the message out. Donations have continued to come in and many thanks to those who have elected to contribute ahead of our Camino...gee, I guess we really have to go! Time now to get things organized for Kathy and Bob to join us as the next 3 months will fly past.
June 21: First day of Summer! We begin our walk 3 months from today. Lots still to do and we know the time is going to fly past. Looking to finalize flights for Kathy and Bob.
June 23: This blog has received over 1,000 views since we rolled it out back in February. Not a bad start:) It's all about getting the word out and increasing awareness!!
June 24: Geoff's cousin Gord and his wife Karen were in recently in contact with us about their plans to walk in NE Spain this fall and asked if we could join them for a couple of days. We explained that due to our Camino For Alzheimers Awareness project that we weren't available. However, they accepted our invitation to join us with Kathy and Bob at Castres for several days of walking towards Toulouse. Looks like this part of the Camino is going to be busy and lots of fun!
July 2: Flights and accommodations for Kathy and Bob are booked! One step closer:)
July 17: We fly out to France in just 2 months! Where has the time gone? This weekend we will start walking again with the Canadian Company of Pilgrim's annual 20 km St. James Day walk. This is an event where newbies walk with experienced camino types in small groups and have the opportunity to ask all their questions about the various routes, what to expect and gear options. Always a good turn out of about 70-80 folks and there is a lake side picnic afterwards. We've not walked very much since our crossing of Sicily in April so this should be interesting!
July 19: Most unfortunately due to a personal situation Gord and Karen will be unable to join us in France. Know that we are presently thinking about you and we will be in touch as we walk. We know you'll be with us in spirit and of course you can be there virtually as well:)
July 28: Hey, check out our Instagram and FaceBook links on the right side of our blog. We are posting photos from our training walks. We would be delighted if you decided to follow us on these two social media platforms! Quite a few of you already are:)
July 30: Committed donations so far have almost reached $5000!!! Wow! Our heartfelt thanks to those folks who have so far supported our efforts to raise Alzheimer's awareness...brilliant! The encouragement we receive almost daily is wonderful and helps to motivate us as we physically and mentally prepare ourselves for the road ahead. Annemarie and I are very touched by your support and generosity.
July 31: Kathy has joined us this week for some training walks and of course the three of us are having endless fun getting excited about September:)
August 7: Hamilton Orthotic Services where we get our feet looked after so well kindly agreed to support our Camino! Their logo with a hyper-link to their website is on the right side of our blog.
August 9: Our pinnies and event t-shirts are finished and I've posted photos on our Instagram page for viewing:)
August 14: We will arrive in France in just 4 weeks!!
August 22: Training has been difficult with all the smoke from the many fires raging in BC. I guess that we will be better prepared for just about anything when we arrive! Just 3 weeks left until we depart.