Why I Walk Wednesday with Latoya Hilliard

28 Sep why-i-walk-wednesday_withlatoyahilliard

why-i-walk-wednesday_withlatoyahilliard

I have to say this has been one of the hardest stories I have ever had to write but its the easiest decision at least for me.  My grandmother has always been the foundation of our family and it was hard for me to watch all of her memories slowly slip away. It was like she never existed in her own mind. She will always be in my heart.  She was diagnosed in 2001 and she passed away in 2007. I walk for her and the other families’ grandparents. If it was not for her, I would not be who I am today. My family feels the same way. We walk for her and we will continue to walk until they find a cure.

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s! 

Why I Walk Wednesday with Judy Prado

21 Sep why-i-walk-wednesday_withjudyprado

why-i-walk-wednesday_withjudypradoI’m walking for my mother, Martha Carter, and for the millions of others who do not deserve to live with and die from this horrible disease. By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care, and support.

My mother lived with Alzheimers for 7 years before it killed her in August of 2011 at 90 years of age. She was a strong, healthy woman who devoted her life unselfishly to her husband and 5 children and 10 grandchildren. She was so proud of the closeness in her family, of every accomplishment, of every picture and every family gathering. She did everything right – there was always a crossword puzzle book on the table by her chair, she went to the library, she bought books, she’d read a book a day and remember all of them, she loved playing gin rummy, she was an avid Jeopardy fan, and when Trivial Pursuit came out she’d find someone to play every day and she’d win every time! She had a thirst for knowledge – she wanted to do your homework! She sewed, crocheted, did crafts. And then, ever so slowly, Alzheimer’s took it all away.

I think what I most want people to understand is that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease – it kills you. I’ve met so many people – untouched by this cruel disease – who think that it makes you forget who people are and do strange things, which it does but all of that is really the least of it. We need them to realize that after Alzheimer’s has destroyed your mind, your ability to do anything you enjoy, and your memories of everything and everyone you loved, it attacks your body and physically destroys you just as slowly and cruelly as it did mentally.

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s!  Join us this Saturday at the Coastal Virginia Walk To End Alzheimer’s.

Volunteer Spotlight – Brian Rogala

15 Sep volunteerspotlight_brianrogala

volunteerspotlight_brianrogala

Brian Rogala started volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association several years ago when his mother, Astrid, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  For the past three years, Brian has served on the Peninsula Walk Planning Committee, and while his organizational skills are much appreciated, Brian’s true gift is the joy that he brings to all who encounter him. Brian is consistently positive, upbeat, and willing to lend a hand to do whatever is needed to get the job done. Whether it’s hauling around tables and chairs, storing Walk supplies in his garage, organizing Walk Day volunteers, or energizing the Walk Committee, Brian does it all selflessly and with great passion for the cause.

Thank you Brian for leading the way in our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

 

 

 

Why I Walk Wednesday with Brian Rogala

14 Sep why-i-walk-wednesday_withbrianrogala

why-i-walk-wednesday_withbrianrogala

I walk for my mother, Astrid (“Ozzie”) who is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. I walk with my father, Rick, my sister, Lisa, and my wife, Melissa, who have all accepted their caregiver role and fulfilled its tasks very diligently.

I walk to help raise resources and awareness for better research, for better support programs, and for better care for the individuals living with this disease.  I walk in support of the caregivers who also need our help and support.

I walk with the hopes and prayers that others can enjoy making memories with their spouses, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends. I walk with the hope that our efforts will ultimately lead to a prevention or cure being found.

My Mom and Dad have always been there for all of us, no matter what the circumstances may be, their support is unimaginable and reassuring. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the past years we have lost with our loved ones.

I walk for our future – a future without Alzheimer’s!!!!

May God bless us all with our challenges and in our adventures!!!!

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s! 

Why I Walk Wednesday with Alice Beaton

7 Sep why-i-walk-wednesday_withalicebeaton

why-i-walk-wednesday_withalicebeaton

I walk for my Dad, Richard, who is also one of my best friends. He and I have always had a close relationship and enjoyed doing things together (i.e. woodworking classes, church outings, working in his shop, etc).  He is 88 years old and was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago.  After his diagnosis, we still spent a lot of time together, as I was trying to make his life as normal as possible.

Unfortunately, 3 years ago we had to put him in a local nursing home because his care became more than we could handle at home. My mom and his wife, Alice, is 88 years old and still lives in their home, which they built in 1960. My parents have been married for 68 years. My mom often says “I never thought our lives together would end like this.” 

This will be my third walk in honor of my dad.  I also walk in the hopes that we will not have to see other family members, friends or even strangers have to succumb to this horrible disease.  

 Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s! 

Why I Walk Wednesday with Jessica Hubbard

31 Aug Why I Walk Wednesday_withJessica Hubbard

Why I Walk Wednesday_withJessica Hubbard

The reason why I walk can all be summed up in this one picture. My father started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s right before my 18th birthday in January 2008 at the age of 59. He would become very irritable and would mistake the television remote for the phone. By May of that year we had no choice but to place him in a facility because it was too much for me and my mother to handle alone. Weekends for the next 6 years were spent traveling to North Carolina to spend time with him. We would go to Wal-Mart to buy snacks, go to lunch and take long car rides.

In 2011 I married my husband and we held a small ceremony at the facility so he could be a part of our wedding. We quickly had our daughter Aubree Grace in 2012 because I wanted to make sure my daughter met her grandfather. Although he could never remember her name, it was a blessing to see them together.

Unfortunately my father took a turn for the worst in February 2014 and was put on hospice. He passed away on April 25, 2014, the day my daughter turned 18 months old. I am 26 years old and I have lost my father to Alzheimer’s. I walk in his name in hopes that someday there will be a cure so that my daughter does not have to witness me going through the same horrible disease.

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s! 

Why I Walk Wednesday with Emily Anderson

19 Aug Why I Walk Wednesday_withEmilyAnderson

Why I Walk Wednesday_withEmilyAnderson

I walk to give a voice to those impacted by Alzheimer’s.

For years, I’ve been watching Alzheimer’s take away someone very special to me. Grandma O’Neil is the women who taught me how to sass like no other and to dance like no one is watching. A hard-working woman who did everything she could to support her family, she is the reason I am volunteering and walking to end this terrible disease.

When my grandmother first began experiencing symptoms, everyone joked about the fact that she was misplacing her keys or forgetting her purse, and laughed it off as “just getting old”. Joking quickly turned to worry as she started wandering outside at night. Over the years, Grandma’s sass has turned to frustration as she no longer understands what is going on. She has no memories, no feelings of nostalgia. She is no longer able to recognize the faces of her grandchildren, her children, or anyone else she once cared for.

No one should have to go through that, which is why I am committed to raising funds and awareness for this cause.

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s!