On January 24, Peter de Maio held the second annual Redstone Lake Pond Hockey Classic. The tournament had been turned into a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society, through our Memory Makers website, after Peter’s Father, Dominic de Maio, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease the previous year.
The participants raised over $13,000 to help fund programs and services provided by the Alzheimer Society and research for a cure. Outstanding work everyone! Your generosity has made a difference.
On January 24, I will be hosting the fifth annual Red Stone Lake Pond Hockey invitational, an outdoor hockey tournament on Piccadilly Bay in Haliburton, Ontario. But this classic Canadian weekend of intense on-ice competition is about more than victory. Through Memory Makers for Alzheimer’s, we’ve turned the tournament into a fundraiser in honour of my father, Don de Maio, who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease last year.
Our house on Piccadilly Bay once belonged to my father, who always loved the outdoors and hiking in the area. Battling on ice in the great outdoors, I feel that the tournament is a great way to honour his memory. And it helps raise money to fund critical Alzheimer research and programs and services in our community.
In addition to a registration fee for the tournament, we provide additional means for participants to show their generosity through other activities and tournaments like crokinole, power, fooseball and a 50/50 draw.
Having experienced this journey for myself, I know that families affected by this disease need all of the help they can get. So please help us raise even more money this year. I want to leave a legacy for my father that he can be proud of.
It all started with her cookies. My Nonna (grandma in Italian) made the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They were a staple of my childhood. One day, when I was a teenager, the cookies tasted different.
It was such a small thing, but I noticed, because they had always tasted the same. When I started working part-time after school, I couldn’t bake with her as often. And the cookies changed even more.
She started forgetting small details things, not remembering parts of her day, and getting lost on her daily walk. For a few years, we didn’t know what was going on, until a doctor’s appointment revealed that Nonna had dementia.
Since then, it has been a difficult journey. My family had struggled at the beginning and sometimes we still do. But thankfully the Alzheimer Society was there for us, providing support and services to help us better understand what my Nonna was going through and what we could do to help.
Watching my Nonna struggle with this disease has been so eye-opening for me. I’ve realized that she is not the same person she once was. She lives in a retirement home, but needs more care than they can provide and is now on the long wait-list for long-term care.
When I see the terrible effects of this disease—she can become angry and agitated and acts in other ways so unlike her—I can’t even believe that this is the same person with whom I used to watch soap operas, bake, and go on trips. Fortunately, I still have those memories. But it saddens me when I am reminded that she doesn’t.
Last year, my mom, who has been one of the biggest pillars of support for my Nonna, participated in the Walk for Memories, the Alzheimer Society’s most important fundraiser. This year I plan to join her. The Alzheimer Society has helped my family understand this disease and provided us with resources to help improve my Nonna’s quality of life. For that, I am truly grateful. I want to make sure others can receive the same kind of help I was so fortunate to.
So I’m walking, not only to say thank you, but also for the people and their families who struggle with the disease today and for those who will tomorrow. Though it may be a long shot, maybe one day a little girl will be able to bake cookies with her grandma well into old age and have them taste the exact same as they always had.