Steve McNeil arrived in Kingston, Ontario. this weekend for a stage of his skate through the province to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

No stranger to cold weather, the 60-year-old postal worker from Toronto, Ontario. laced up his skates at 12:01am in weather that felt like -30C with wind chill.

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Despite the conditions, McNeil plans to skate at Springer Market Square until 7:26 pm, 19 hours and 26 minutes on the ice.

“I started doing this in my hometown of Toronto in 2012 as a dedication to my mother, Eunice McNeil, who was born on December 15, 1926,” says McNeil. “And at that time she was battling Alzheimer’s for the better part of 20 years, 11 years in a facility.”

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The founder of ‘1926 Skate for Alzheimer’s’ is now celebrating the 10th anniversary of his fundraising effort.

He is traveling to eight different cities in Ontario. Kingston is the second stop.

“I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with Alzheimer’s Societies all over the country, and boy are the people in the Kingston region lucky,” says McNeil. “Because Lesley Kimble and all the other staff here at the Alzheimer’s Society in Kingston are off the charts. They’re rockstar kids, really.”

Any money McNeil is raising while in Kingston will stay within the community, helping with social recreation programs, counseling and support for both caregivers and those diagnosed with the disease.

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“It’s been amazing, I have to tell you,” says Lesley Kimble, fundraising coordinator for the KFL&A Alzheimer’s Society. “This guy has more energy in that body than an entire hockey team.”

Alzheimer’s Society programming helps keep people as active and engaged as possible, Kimble said, and is just as essential for caregivers as it is for those diagnosed.

“It’s been a tough two years,” Kimble said. “Certainly, it has also been a difficult two years for fundraising, as it has been for all charities. So, we’re very excited that Steve is here.”

As he skated, members of the community reached out to McNeil, offering hot soup, words of comfort, and even families with stories similar to Steve and his mother.

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“Being that sounding board for people when they come in is really humbling and puts a lot of energy and enthusiasm into what I do,” says McNeil. “It makes it easier to do what I do, really.”

Online donations are accepted through Alzheimer’s Society Kingston or McNeil’s 1926 Skating Site.

McNeil is headed to Petawawa, Ontario. to continue his skating on January 22.

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Reference-globalnews.ca

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