Archive | September, 2018

Why I Walk with Alice Beaton

26 Sep

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I walk for my Dad (Team Richard) my hero. He lived with Alzheimer’s for 10 years. It was so sad to see his decline. And even times he knew there was just “somethings not right”.  He lived his last three years in the nursing home.

He didn’t know me but I always knew him and I was with him at least every other day.

I don’t want another daddy’s girl to have to take that journey.

Now. I feel like raising money for Alzheimer’s is all I have left to do for my dad

Alice Beaton
Western Tidewater Walk

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Why I Walk with Gino Colombara

19 Sep

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I am Gino Colombara and I have had the honor to be the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia Chapter for the past 23 years. I walk each year for a very personal reason.

My journey with Alzheimer’s started over 30 years ago. It began with my father, John Colombara. While I was in the Navy stationed in Italy, he was living in Florida. I would call him every Sunday. One Sunday, he did not answer the phone. The same held true for Monday. I contacted the apartment manager to check on him. Apparently, neighbors saw my father leave with two suitcases in hand.

My father, who spent most of his adult life in New York, decided to head back home. He traveled by bus and train. He was missing for two months. I had a detective looking for him. This was the worst time of my life.

My father reached New York where he got mugged. He was brought to Bellevue Hospital without any identification. My father did not provide his real name and did not share that he had any family.

So how did I find him? He got on a pay phone in the hospital and called his bank in New York to get his pension check. I had contacted the bank earlier to request that if he should call to please contact the Red Cross.

At 2:00 one morning, military security officers came to my home in Italy and shared that my father was found. I immediately called him at the hospital. When I spoke with him, it was like nothing ever happened. By 8:00 that morning, I was on a flight to New York. And so began my Alzheimer’s journey in 1986. And so began my advocacy to make a difference.

Initially, my Alzheimer’s journey was extremely lonely. There was not much awareness of Alzheimer’s at that time. In fact, my father did not get a formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s until 1989. My father passed away in 1993.

The tide has certainly changed since then. I feel proud to be part of that changing tide.

30 years ago…I could not imagine a day when everyone who needs care and support gets it as a result of our work…Today I can.

30 years ago…I could not imagine a day when research is funded at the proper level… Today I can.

30 years ago…I could not imagine a day when stigma would be eliminated… Today I can.

And 30 years ago, I could not imagine the day when everyone survives – the day our vision is realized. Today I can.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is one of the ways I pay tribute to my father. I hope you will join me at one of our walks. I look forward to seeing you!

Gino Colombara, Executive Director
Alzheimer’s Association – Southeastern Virginia Chapter

Join Gino at!

Why I Walk with Sheila Mayes

12 Sep

Why I Walk

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I have been a nurse since 1991. Many of those years as a nurse have been spent working with people who have dementia. It is both challenging and rewarding. I love it! Those people are part of the reason why I walk.

However, the biggest reason is that my paternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease before she died. We were fortunate that because she had two wonderful children, my father, and my aunt, along with my stepmother and some hired help, she was able to stay at home for the entire duration of the disease.

My grandmother was pleasantly confused. She loved to joke and laugh. Even on her “bad” days, she made light of it with a joke.

I remember my grandmother as a pure “joy” to be around. Growing up, that’s exactly what we called her. Joy. Her name was Josephine and most people called her “Jo”, but to her grandchildren, she was simply Joy.

Near the end, she could not remember my name. She called my daughter “that girl” when asking about her. Her memories slowly faded and she became more and more confused before she died. I felt as if I had been robbed of my grandmother long before she passed away.

Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease and I love walking to raise money for the cause, hoping that someday we will find a prevention or a cure and be able to provide education so that loved ones will be prepared to cope with the challenges they will face.

Alzheimer’s disease is growing in numbers because people are living longer and their bodies are healthier. It will affect all of us in some way at some time. Please join me in walking to End Alzheimer’s.

Sheila Mayes

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Why I Walk with Sheila Craze

5 Sep


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This is my Dad and my hero, David A. Craze.  On June 12th, 2017 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  A day will come that he will forget that I’m his favorite kid and that he’s even my Dad.  No one should have to stand by and watch this disease take their family and friends from them.  So my family’s not standing by. We have joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Virginia Beach. I have taken a step further and joined the walk planning committee to help increase outreach and awareness of this horrible disease.

Please join Team Craze in our fight and if you are able, make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Sheila Craze
Team Craze – CoVA Walk
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