A hike to remember

Off The Grid 365 hopes to raise $90,000 this Dementia Awareness Month for Alzheimer’s WA through 12 walking trail events across Western Australia.

There are three events left in September: the 40km Bibbulmun Big Walk; the 10km Swan Valley Walk and Wine; and the Herdsman Lake Loop.

With Alzheimer’s WA holding its Walk to Remember fundraising events in November, its head of dementia practice and innovation Jason Burton said this registered charity could receive $125,000, if both organisations reach their goals.

A group of hikers posing behind a Bibbulmun Track and Alzheimer's WA sign in the forrest.
Almost 400 people have registered to participate in Off The Grid 365’s hiking trail events this September. Photo: Supplied (John Hinds).

“It is a significant amount of money we can use for a whole range of things to support people living with dementia,” he said.

Off The Grid 365 director Betina Crooks was inspired to donate after her nan deteriorated from dementia in the last eight years of her life and died in 2018.

“Growing up she was such a strong role model and so resilient,” she said.

“At the end of her journey, there was no recognition whatsoever. This strong independent woman was just reduced to this frail, bruised kind of body.”

The last day Ms Crooks spent with her nan, 93. Left to right: Jenny King, Joyce Crooks, Betina Crooks, and Belinda Crooks. Photo: Supplied (Mic Fic).

According to Alzheimer’s WA, dementia is the leading cause of death for Australian women. There are approximately 42,900 people diagnosed with dementia in Western Australia.

Mr Burton said fundraising allows Alzheimer’s WA to reach more people and run programs that government funding cannot support, like its Dementia Advocates Program, which helps those living with dementia, their families and carers to share their stories.

However, Ms Crooks said Off The Grid 365 only raised 10 per cent of its fundraising goal through the first seven events.

“If it allows a couple of families some relief or access to services that they weren’t previously able to get, then that’s a success in our eyes,” she said.

She plans to organise another Alzheimer’s WA fundraiser next year and hopes for more corporate support and time to promote it.

Mr Burton explained Alzheimer’s WA helps people to live well with the disease.

“The reality is if you get a diagnosis of dementia today, you’re going to be the same person you were yesterday and things are going to change for you in the future but that could be over a number of years,” he said.

“We try to help people think about ‘what do I want to achieve in my life? What are my goals? How can I still live well despite this diagnosis, and how am I going to plan for the future?’”

Off The Grid 365 has operated since February and specialises in guided walking experiences.

“We’ll point out some geology, show you some Noongar history, European history, the flowers, the animals, so you really are connected in the environment you walk in,” Ms Crooks said.

She now hopes Off The Grid 365 will raise $15,000 by the end of September.

The Swan Valley Walk and Wine tour is on September 23, the Herdsman Lake Loop is set for September 24, and the Bibbulmun Big Walk will go ahead on September 26.

To register for these events, visit

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