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Marathon skate at Gretzky winery supports Alzheimer’s

Steve McNeil is prepping for a 19-hour skating marathon at Gretzky Estates Winery.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, McNeil will skate for 19 hours and 26 minutes to boost research into Alzeimer's disease.

McNeil, a 59-year-old mailman and recreational hockey referee, has done the marathon skate 18 times in cities across Canada in rain, blizzards and -40C temperatures.

He does it as a tribute to his mother, who died of the disease. She was born Dec. 15, 1926, thus the name and the skate time.

McNeil says his 19-hour and 26-minute effort is just one day in his life, but caregivers for people living with dementia spend that much time each day looking after their loved ones.

“COVID-19 has been devastating for seniors and their families,” McNeil said in a news release. “More and more families are going to need the assistance that their local Alzheimer Societies can provide. That’s why this fundraising skate is so important.”

“More Canadians will want to keep their aging parents at home with them rather than placing them in a care facility. After what happened with COVID-19 this year they won’t want to have loved ones in a residence where they can’t visit them.”  

This year McNeil has declared Dec. 15 as “National 1926 Skate Day for Alzheimer’s.”

He is encouraging Canadians across the country to take the “1926 Challenge” and skate, or do whatever they love, for 19 minutes and  26 seconds wherever they live and donate $19.26 or whatever they can to their local Alzheimer Society. 

Alzheimer's societies offer programs and support services for people living with dementia and their care partners.

McNeil also asking people who participate to tell their story and send a photo to his social media listed on his website www.1926Skate.com and use the hashtag #1926Challenge.

This will be McNeil's ninth year skating. He starts at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 15 and skates until 7.26 p.m., on the outdoor rink at the Gretzky Estates Winery.




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