Bilger continues to Walk for Memories

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Morgan Bilger, 88, did it one more time.

"We have a very special man in our Walk," said Shelley Green, executive director, Alzheimer Society of Oxford, introducing Bilger as the top individual fundraiser for Tillsonburg's 2014 Walk for Memories event Saturday morning at the Tillsonburg Community Centre.

Bilger raised $2,112 this year, bringing his total to $20,229 after a decade of Walks.

"I know it takes a lot of energy to raise that kind money," said Green, "and I think he's got quite a little fan club here today to recognize his efforts in raising that kind of money for the Alzheimer Society.

We just want to say, Morgan, thank you so much."

The winning Tillsonburg group – three people forming the Damm Good Group – raised $2,255.

"We're very thankful for all the groups here this year and for the different costumes you wore," Green told participants. "You add a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the event and we're very thankful for the amount you raised."

Announcing 2014's total, Green said the Walk for Memories in Tillsonburg raised $20,051, about $1,500 more than last year. She thanked all of the estimated 200-250 participants and said she hopes they return for 2015.

Many will, but for Bilger it might have been his last Walk.

"I'm going to be 89 in March, so I think I've had about enough of this," he said with a smile.

"He says that every year," laughed Gloria Hughes, a friend who walked laps with Bilger in the Lions Auditorium.

"I've known this guy for a long time," said Judi Restemeyer from Alzheimer Society of Oxford, "because I've been on staff for almost 20 years. Over the last few years Morgan has brought in 10 per cent of the Tillsonburg Walk. One man. And he keeps saying to me, 'I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it again this year...' and out he goes."

"When I first started, I got $500 and thought I was doing good," said Bilger, thankful for all of the donations he received for the Walk. "Friends and relatives... it's for a good cause."

Bilger got started when his wife, Marie, was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

"She's in a nursing home, Maple Manor, starting nine years now. She's healthy, but..."

Saturday's Walk for Memories was the Tillsonburg's 19th anniversary, and all money raised stays local, said Green.

"We're really happy with today's Walk," Green summed up. "We never know how many to expect when we come to an event like this because people don't have to pre-register. To see the community's continued support, it's very encouraging and we're so thankful."

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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