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'Wildcat' joins students in Alzheimer Walk for Memories
Mrs. Cindy Norman is a well-respected administrative assistant at Aldergrove Community Secondary School. Quietly, efficiently, she goes about her job supervising the office and assisting principal John Pusic. Few casual acquaintances would guess at her wild side. And wonderfully wild it is.
Given a chance, there are a great many audacious things Cindy Norman would do to help a good cause. She lets the ACSS hairdressing department’s annual fashion fundraiser go to town on her image, then performs theatrically to some raucous music on stage with the students. When she worked some years ago at Langley’s Alex Hope Elementary, she had her hair shaved to raise money for B.C. Children’s Hospital (helping to bring in more than $7,000).
And now she’s going to look like a wildcat to help Sunday’s Walk for Memories in Aldergrove. At least, she will look like an untamed beast if the students at ACSS raise at least $700 by Friday.
The campaign is another brainchild of hairdressing department head Peggy Wickenden. Last year, she organized a similar campaign for Aldergrove’s first Alzheimer Society fundraiser that covered the head of good-sport teacher George Wilander in leopard spots after the school topped the targeted $500 by close to another $400.
This week, the hairstyling students are offering to cut hair by donation and are visiting each classroom to entice cash contributions. Parents and friends of the school are invited to contribute, too.
The make-over will mean the back of Cindy Norman’s head will be shaved and dyed to look like a wildcat’s face. Two students, Danielle and Desiree, are practising hard on dummies to get the look just right. The “victim” won’t be able to see the cat unless she uses two mirrors, but everywhere she goes she’ll attract attention.
Does this bother her? Not a bit. “I look just as good bald as with good hair,” she says. “And it grows out.”
What does bother her is that so many people would not consider doing something a little offbeat to help a good cause. She’s had people tell her they’d never think of messing with their appearance to help others.
For Cindy Norman, helping others comes first. A former co-worker is battling early-onset dementia and she sees first-hand the ravages that loss of memory and identity can cause.
If you’d like to help the more than 70,000 British Columbians and their families already suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s and other dementia, please support this local “community group hug” in a fine facility, rain or shine. There’ll be music and entertainment — face painting and (if the rain holds off) a fire truck for the kids — plus some free refreshments and a BBQ by donation.
The Walk for Memories goes Sunday at the Aldergrove Athletic Park, noon to 3 p.m. Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese will officially kick off the event at around 12:20 and Township Councillor Bob Long will be both MC and DJ. Guest of honour will be the 2013 Langley-Aldergrove-Abbotsford Walk for Memories honoree, Carrol Horne, who went to school in Aldergrove and has lived in the Langley area all her life.
January is Alzheimer Awareness Month across Canada, where one in 11 adults over the age of 65 is now reported to suffer some form of dementia. As Baby Boomers enter their senior years, the toll on families is predicted to worsen dramatically without further research and earlier diagnosis and help.
The theme of this year’s campaign is: “See me, not my disease.” As Langley-Aldergrove-Abbotsford Walk for Memories honoree Carrol Horne exemplifies, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is just another obstacle to overcome with the support of family and friends and help from physicians and the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
Walks for Memories (there are 23 around the province) are the ASBC's biggest fundraisers. Administrative costs are comparatively low and all contributions make a difference. Go to walkformemories.com and click on the Langley, Aldergrove & Abbotsford link to register and/or donate.