1926 Skate raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s
Steve McNeil skates for 19 hours and 26 minutes to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society as a tribute to his mother, who died of the disease, and all the caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s.
McNeil, who is a mailman in Etobicoke, Ont. and a recreational hockey referee, wanted to give back and skating was his way of doing that.
December 15, 2020 will be the ninth year he has completed his marathon skate. Because he skates alone, it may be one of the only charity events that will be live while others are virtual. He skates on December 15 his mother’s birthday and 1926 is the year she was born thus the name of the skate.
In 2018, he skated in the seven Canadian NHL hockey cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal. In the winter of 2019-20 he skated in 11 cities – adding Saskatoon, Charlottetown, Fredericton and Halifax to the original seven. Only snow storms kept him from St. John’s, Nfld.
McNeil has skated in rain, sleet and snow. In Edmonton it was -40C, Calgary -33C and in Halifax and Toronto it snowed all night. He says he doesn’t get cold. He just thinks about his Mom and her apple pie. McNeil also says his marathon skate is nothing compared to the hours that caregivers dedicate to their loved ones every day.
He skates listening to the rock band ACDC because he loves their sound and to honour Angus Young, a band member who died of Alzheimer’s. In 2018 when the band learned of his efforts, they donated $19,260 to Alzheimer Societies across Canada. The media coverage McNeil received definitely raised the awareness of the disease.
At his skate, in Vancouver in 2019, he listened to the Spirit of the West after John Mann, a member of the group died of Alzheimer’s.
Over the years McNeil has invited and encouraged everyone – NHL stars, celebrities, referees and the media -- to come and skate with him. In 2020, three Montreal men skated with him for the entire 19 hours and 26 minutes. The Broady brothers, Scott, Mark and Sean are dedicated to supporting the Alzheimer Society.
In 2020, due to Covid-19, people may not be able to join him on the ice, but McNeil will still be skating on December 15th. If Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square rink is restricted due to the virus, he will find another location.
To everyone who would like to support 1926Skate and loves to skate as much as McNeil does - he thanks you. He says “Come out and skate and support the cause. It’s the Canadian thing to do.”