Why the 1926 Skate matters more than ever...

This past year COVID-19 has been devastating for people living with Alzheimer`s and dementia and their families and that’s why raising awareness and fundraising during this year’s #1926skate is more important than ever.

Over the past nine years at midnight on December 15, Steve McNeil has bundled up, slid his feet into his skates, put his Bose earbuds in his ears and cranked his ACDC library and stepped onto the rink at Nathan Phillips Square. He skates for 19 hours and 26 minutes to raise awareness, funds and community involvement for Alzheimer's societies. Steve skates to honour of his mother, Eunice McNeil, who lived with Alzheimer’s for the better part of 20 years before passing in February 2013.

In 2019 Steve took his passion for skating and music to people outside of Toronto for the first time and skated in the seven Canadian NHL cities. Again in 2020 Steve skated in 11 cities in nine provinces finishing two weeks before the country was shut down by Covid-19, which makes this year's skate even more important to Steve and all the communities that Alzheimer Societies service from coast to coast to coast .

While Steve usually skates on outdoor public rinks across the country and invites people to skate with him this year due to physical distancing restrictions he only skated once and he skated alone.

His one skate was a private event at the Gretzky Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-lake and he introduced National Skate Day for Alzheimer's Dec. 15 as part of the #1926challenge.

“The Alzheimer Society is so important, especially now," Steve says. "From coast to coast to coast, people living with Alzheimer's and dementia need us to do everything we can to ensure organizations like the Alzheimer Society continue to have the resources to operate during the pandemic, and beyond. They offer the crucial programs, services, and resources that people living with Alzheimer's and dementia and their families depend on.

“The 19 hours and 26 minutes I spend skating are nothing compared to the time families devote to those who live with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia every day, Now more families are taking on the task of caregiving for their loved ones afraid to place there loved ones in a care facility with the way that Covid has devastated some of our long term care facility`s across the country So I skate in these cities and try to get people involved with the Alzheimer Society in some way either through encouraging people to donate, volunteer and attract corporate involvement ."

Alzheimer Societies across the country offer programs for those living with dementia, families, and care partners. The funds raised through the annual 1926 skate for Alzheimer`s and the #1926challenge This will help make more Alzheimer Society programs available for those who need them most across Canada .