From the Ascent Blog

Debbie Craig: Taking it to the top

Six years ago, Comox resident and lifelong hiker Debbie Craig went back to work after caring for her son Eban since his birth two years before. That kicked off a process through which Debbie discovered an aptitude for caregiving and an innate ability to put people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at ease. Eventually, she returned to hiking, and now brings eight-year-old Eban along on shorter routes. For Debbie, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro has been a long-held dream. “I thought by 50 I’m going to do this,” she says.
 
More than two years ago, at the age of 47, Debbie became caregiver to 81-year-old Don Malcolm, who has Alzheimer’s disease and lives with his longtime partner Delores Broten, in her sixties. As the bonds of care and friendship grew, so did Debbie’s desire to honour other people with dementia so they are not forgotten. In 2014, she started searching online for a group to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro with and found the Ascent for Alzheimer’s website. She knew immediately she would do the hike and joined the 2015 team.
 
Early on, she promised Don that when she reached the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro she would honour his journey by reading a poem he wrote in 2009.
 
Family of Strangers
 
In this humanity,
In which we all live,
We are all a part of each other.
What a wonderful world we will inherit,
When we recognize ourselves
When we meet.
 
Debbie’s friend and relative Kris Clarke, also a member of the 2015 Ascent team, has agreed to videotape Debbie’s reading so Debbie can show Don upon her return.
 
Debbie admits that while she’s eager to do the hike, fundraising for the event doesn’t come naturally to her. Debbie credits Kris as being her “pep-talk person when it comes to fundraising.” She adds, “Kris has been a great help when I try to get my courage up.” Debbie is currently selling raffle tickets, organizing a public fundraising and dementia resource event at a local mall, and planning several pub nights.
 
“I’m really excited for my son to know that I’ve done the hike,” says Debbie. “Arriving at the top of any mountain is one of the most glorious moments.” She adds, “I know it’s going to be beyond what I can imagine.” 

You can support Debbie by donating to her fundraising target
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