My first experience with Alzheimer’s (although I didn’t know what it was) was when I was around 10 years old. I remember going to the hospital to visit my grandpa who’d been recovering from open heart surgery. When I walked through the door I said “Hey, grandpa,” to which he responded, “Who are you?” I remember being really upset because my grandpa was a hero to me, but I didn’t realize until his funeral a few months later that the reason he couldn’t remember me was because he had Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s became a bigger part of my life when I started working at Atlantic Shores. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some awesome residents and, unfortunately. I’ve seen some of them suffer the effects of Alzheimer’s. It’s hard to watch someone you care for, go from lively and active to a more monitored and structured lifestyle.
Why do I walk for Alzheimer’s? I walk because a lot of the people affected by Alzheimer’s are military and they fought for my freedom. I walk because a lot of the people affected were teachers and nurses that helped teach and care for people. I walk because a lot of the people affected were laborers who worked hard their whole life to build this country to what it is today and provided for their families. And lastly, I walk for the families of the people affected by Alzheimer’s because I don’t want anyone to have the same feeling I did as a kid when my grandpa asked, “Who are you?”
Aquatics and Fitness Coordinator
Atlantic Shores, the Neighborhood for 55 and Better in Virginia Beach