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Retired Vernon teacher living with dementia honoured at Alzheimers Walk

Judy Burns and her daughters recognized at May 26 fundraiser
Judy Burns (left), who has been living well with dementia since 2018, will be honoured alongside her daughters Kim Burns (middle) and Jen Burns (right) at this year’s IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s May 26. (COntributed)

Judy Burns is a well-known figure within Vernon. The retired elementary school teacher is not only recognized by former students when out, but some within the community may be familiar with her, and her daughters Jen and Kim, from their time spent spreading cheer.

“For Valentine’s Day we got dressed up in all red and went and handed out little roses,” Jen said. “For Halloween, we were dressed up in our costumes and we went out and handed out trick or treats. For Christmas, we dressed up as the Grinch and gave out candy canes.”

Since Judy received a dementia diagnosis in 2018, she and her family have welcomed this sense of playfulness and have focused on finding moments of happiness along their journey.

Jen and Kim are among the more than 50,000 caregivers in British Columbia, who provide an estimated 1.3 million hours of unpaid caregiving support to people living with dementia per week.

On Sunday, May 26, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s largest fundraiser will raise funds in Vernon for essential programs and services and ensure caregivers and people living with dementia don’t face it alone.

The North Okanagan IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, presented by Go Auto, takes place at Polson Park. Registration starts at 11 a.m. followed by the walk at noon. For more information contact

The Walk helps provide critical supports for people affected by dementia, while breaking down stigma surrounding the disease. Each of the more than 20 events across B.C. is dedicated to an honouree – an individual or group affected by dementia, or someone who has valuably contributed to the lives of people living with the disease. This year Judy, Jen and Kim are being honoured at the Walk in Vernon for their contribution to the community and their desire to help other people affected by dementia.

“Receiving a dementia diagnosis can either come as a shock or a relief – or anything in between for the thousands of people who develop the disease each year in B.C. and the supports they each need are just as individual as they are,” says Andrea Campbell, Support and Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in the North Okanagan.“Every day we see firsthand how different resources we provide empower people to face the challenges of dementia and live well at different stages in the journey. The Walk is an opportunity for everyone to take part in providing essential support and feel the power of walking alongside neighbours and friends on the dementia journey.”

The family has been receiving support from the Alzheimer Society of B.C. through the Minds in Motion® program, which Judy attends weekly with Kim.

“We love it,” Jen says of the social and fitness program for people living with dementia and a care partner. “It’s a lot of fun. There’s recognition of people. They get to talk about themselves and be noticed.”

To help make a difference in the lives of people like Judy, Kim and Judy on the dementia journey in your community, visit

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