Archive | July, 2017

Why I Walk with Jacqueline Ferguson

26 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday WITH Jacqueline Ferguson

My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2010 and I cared for him until he passed at home in 2014.  I miss my husband of almost 60 years of marriage, my partner in life. Well, to honor him and his love of travel. My children decided to take our journey on the road to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and to find a cure. This year we are walking to find a cure in Virginia Beach and I want you to join us. I’m leading the way to Alzheimer’s first survivor by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®.

Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Jacqueline Ferguson
Member of Roosevelt’s Roadies Walk Team
Coastal Virginia Walk

Why I Walk with Brad Fleenor

19 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday- BRAD FLEENOR

My name is Brad Fleenor and I am the 2017 Coastal Virginia Walk to End Alzheimer’s Walk Chair and I Walk to End Alzheimer’s for my grandmother Mimi.

My Mimi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and from that moment on, my family has been deeply impacted by this disease.  One spring day, while I was living outside of Atlanta, I called my Mimi for our weekly chat, and she said how much she missed me and was coming to see me.  This completely caught me off guard. My Mimi, at the age of 74, driving through downtown Atlanta?  I thought this must be a joke. Much to my surprise, that weekend, Mimi called me as she was coming through Atlanta stating that she was almost to my house.  

Now, this must seem like normal to you, but it certainly is out of character for her. Mimi would never drive that far alone. That visit turned into a three-month visit and we had a great time during her extended time with me, from cooking dinner together, to going out and exploring Georgia.
Life moves by so quickly, and if we had only connected the dots back then, I believe we would have all chosen to get to spend three months with our vibrant grandmother.  I was the first grandchild, and clearly, I was the favorite, so I thought.  Now I know all her family was special to her. This was truly her last road trip by herself.

Later on, our family moved from the happy times, laughing and celebrating life, to my Mom and Dad faithfully taking care of her day in and day out.  Having Mimi live with them, assisting her with her daily life activities, was not a choice, it is what they did.  We did not have to sacrifice family time, our family was growing, with my sister expecting her first child and Mimi going on all our family trips and vacations, to Massanutten, Virginia Wineries, Charleston, Nags Head and Fort Lauderdale,  we sure did have fun and as my Mother always says, “we made memories” during these difficult times. As time went on, the care became too much for my parents to handle, eventually moving Mimi back home to her same town in Liberty, Kentucky, to be near her other children and grandchildren. With my Mom and Dad making many trips to Kentucky to visit Mimi, things would never be the same. After a while, Mimi did not know them and now lives in her own world each day.  

Brad Fleenor
Walk Chair
Coastal Virginia Walk

 

The Longest Day Event Spotlight: The Runway Authority’s GENESIS, A New Beginning

17 Jul

It was just an ordinary day at our Norfolk office in February when a first-time visitor stopped by with an idea for a fundraising event. This gentleman’s only connection to Alzheimer’s was that a friend and colleague had recently lost her mother to the disease. He wanted to do something that would not only help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and funds to support our mission, but something that would also fulfill an idea he had been thinking about for some time.

The man with the idea is Kevin Higgins, a locally based professional photographer. His idea was to bring New York City-style fashion shows to the Hampton Roads area. So, Kevin partnered with fellow photographer Charles Hundley and model Ashley Hawkins to form The Runway Authority. Their very first fashion show, titled GENESIS A NEW BEGINNING, took place on June 4th at The Historic Post Office in Hampton. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited The Longest Day 2017 campaign.

On that night in June, the audience gazed in amazement as stunning models, wearing clothes created by local fashion designers, glided by to the sound of enchanting music. A bank of photographers waited to capture the glamour of each outfit as the models neared the end of the runway. This amazing evening came to a close when models and fashion designers walked the runway together to a joyful standing ovation.

The Runway Authority not only succeeded in  bringing a New York City-style fashion show to Hampton Roads, they helped educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease  while raising much needed funds for the care and support for those living with the challenges of Alzheimer’s.

To learn more about The Runway Authority visit www.therunwayauthority.com. Please visit www.alz.org/thelongestday to learn about ways in which you can participate in the 2018 campaign.

Why I Walk with Anna Jianinne

12 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday With Anna Jianinne

IN MEMORY OF MY SWEET MOTHER

JOYCE W. KENNEDY

04/15/1935 – 04/08/2014

I walk . . . because both of my Grandmothers and my Sweet Mother, my Aunt (her sister) and my Uncle (her brother) cannot.

I walk . . . because my family has been devastated by this horrific disease, which took their precious memories of loved ones and friends. The years of joy and tears they shed over happy occasions were no longer a memory to them. We were left to watch helplessly and broken-heartedly.       

With this disease, they still showed us daily their inner strength and deep faith and they continued each day with grace and dignity.

I walk . . . because that’s the only way I know to get the awareness out. Awareness is in numbers, in people, and in dollars. The more attention we get as walkers, the more donations we will achieve for research and a cure.

I walk . . . so one day my Children and/or my Grandchildren won’t have to, and if they walk it will be a walk in celebration of a cure and honoring those whose memories and lives were taken.

Anna Jianinne
Believers for A Cure

Volunteer Spotlight: Sharon Babbs

11 Jul

VolunteerSpotlight - Sharon Babbs

Sharon Babbs
Sharon has been a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association for about 16 years. She lost her mother to Alzheimer’s 15 years ago, so she knows firsthand what it means to be a family caregiver. She knew she wanted to become involved with the Association in some capacity, so 18 years ago Sharon participated in what was then called the Memory Walk. Today, of course, we know it as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Since that first Walk, Sharon has been a volunteer, helping in any way she can. She has taken on the role of advocate as well as Walk Chair and Logistics Chair for the Coastal Virginia Walk in Virginia Beach. Most recently, Sharon has been serving as that Walk’s Volunteer Coordinator. To quote her, Sharon tells us that “the Chapter office and everyone in it are my second family.”

When she is not in volunteer mode, Sharon is mother to her sons Chad, Brandon and Benjamin. She is wife to her husband Robbie. As if her proverbial plate isn’t already overflowing, Sharon is the gifted resource teacher to 544 students at Luxford Elementary School in Virginia Beach.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Brettani Cropper

5 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday With Brettani Cropper.png

Alzheimer’s took my paternal grandmother’s life in February of 2007. Now it is trying to claim my father’s. He was diagnosed with early onset in October of 2009. It is one of the worst diseases to watch a loved one go through. Besides the memory loss and not being able to perform daily tasks, the hardest thing for me to deal with is the personality change. My dad was very outgoing and loved to make people laugh (I’m sure that’s where I get it from), but since being diagnosed I have watched him go through many changes. You never realize the things you take for granted until they are taken away from you. What I wouldn’t give to be able to have a normal conversation with my dad again. Even though he is still here physically, I feel as though I’ve lost him. Having to experience all of this with not just one loved one but two, I hope to aid in finding the cure so that millions of families will not have to endure this horrific disease.

Williamsburg Walk
Brettani Cropper, Team Captain
Memory Savers