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Toronto woman completes race to end Alzheimer's, surpasses fundraising goal

A Toronto woman has capped off her months-long mission to race from coast to coast to outpace a debilitating disease affecting hundreds of thousands of Canadian families, including her own.

Earlier this year, Stephanie Fauquier had her sights set on racing 500 kilometres in 10 triathlons across 10 provinces this summer to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research. She achieved her goal on Sept. 17 after wrapping up the Niagara Falls Barrelman Triathlon.

“I decided that I would race across Canada, because it’s not just an Ontario issue, it’s a Canada-wide issue,” she told CTV News.

Fauquier competed in each province and raised around $300,000, surpassing her fundraising goal by $37,000.

“Many small steps lead to big outcomes,” she said in an interview with CTV’s Scott Hurst.

For Fauquier, the endurance challenge dubbed “Race with Steph” not only aimed at raising money and awareness for research, but was a way to celebrate a loved one, her mother Robin McLeod.

McLeod is a recipient of the Order of Canada and a globally-recognized surgeon for her contributions to general surgery and academic research throughout her career. She is also living with the harsh reality of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

In 2020, around 597,000 people were living with dementia in the country and that number is projected to balloon to close to one million by the end of the decade, according to Alzheimer Society Canada.

The annual cost of dementia to the Canadian economy and health-care system is estimated to cost somewhere between $910 million and $33 billion.

While there is no cure for this neurodegenerative disease, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto, the recipients of Fauquier’s fundraising campaign, say better treatments are within reach.

Graham Collingridge, director of U of T’s Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, told CTV News dementia is a “terrible” disease and represents “some of the worst medical problems confronting Canadians.”

To watch the full story, click the video at the top of this article.

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