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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 Please visit 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



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

A Day for Caregivers

23 Jun
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A Day for Caregivers- Franklin

Thank you to all those who attended A Day for Caregivers in Hampton and Franklin this week! Over 100 attendees in Hampton and 50 attendees in Franklin engaged in conference sessions to gain practical skills they can apply in their caregiving roles. The conference started out with an overview of dementia presented in Hampton by Dr. Adel Aziz, MD, of Riverside Neurology Specialists, and in Franklin by Amanda Kubin, PA, Sentara Neurology Specialists. Mary Ann Toboz, Executive Director of Tidewater Arts Outreach, then presented a music and arts workshop to teach participants achievable methods for delivering a variety of arts experiences that can be adapted for home or group settings. She had everyone up and singing! The latest in Alzheimer’s disease research was then presented by Dr. Hamid Okhravi, MD, of Eastern Virginia Medical School. Lori Hasty, GCNS-BC, presented our final workshop of the day on Validation Therapy which focuses on empathy and provides a means for Alzheimer’s patients to communicate. During breaks, Dr. Paul Aravich, Eastern Virginia Medical School, provided a brain demonstration to attendees.

A Day for Caregivers Conference is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Camp Family Foundation, Franklin Southampton Charities, and the J.L. Camp Foundation.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Findings for Virginia

12 Jun

BRFFS Caregiving Blog Graphic.png

New data interpretations from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System proves the need for more Alzheimer’s advocates has never been greater, especially when considering the impact of the disease on caregivers. In this article, we have detailed the most profound findings in our hope to gain new Alzheimer’s advocates or renew a sense of urgency for our current advocates.

More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and 458,000 of those caregivers live in Virginia.

Caregiving is defined as activities performed that attend to another person’s health needs. It often includes assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, dressing, or toileting, as well as independent activities of daily living, such as driving, paying bills, or grocery shopping.

Caregiving for a loved one has an incredible economic impact in the United States. Unpaid caregivers provide nearly 18.2 billion hours of informal assistance, a national contribution valued at $230.1 billion. Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women. (2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association). Caregiving duties also have a significant impact on the health of those providing care. Nearly 75% of caregivers nationwide stated that they are “very concerned to somewhat concerned” about their own health and nearly 1 in 3 caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia stated that their health has “become worse since assuming these responsibilities”.

In Virginia, we know that more than 60%of Virginia caregivers have been providing care for more than 2 years, and one-third provide care 20 hours or more a week. (2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System). Virginia caregivers reported that these responsibilities have a significant impact on their health with 13.1% reporting frequent poor mental health, 13.8% frequent poor physical health, and 23.6% reporting a history of depression.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Of the top 10 leading causes of death, it is the only cause without a way to prevent, treat, or cure the disease. Click here to learn how you can take action as an Alzheimer’s Advocate.

Virginia - 2015 CG BRFSS Fact Sheet


Subjective Cognitive Decline in Virginia

7 Jun


Alzheimer’s disease is a nationwide public health crisis, and it is having an increasingly significant impact on Virginians. New data interpretations from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System proves the need for more Alzheimer’s advocates has never been greater, especially concerning the cognitive effects of the disease.  In this article, we have detailed the most profound findings in our hope to gain new Alzheimer’s advocates or renew a sense of urgency for our current advocates.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that attacks the brain, killing nerve cells and tissue, and affects an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease. There is no treatment or cure, and it is fatal.

Researchers believe that the early detection of Alzheimer’s will be key to preventing, slowing and stopping the disease. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s requires a careful and comprehensive medical evaluation, often with the help of a neurologist (2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association). The benefits of early detection include increased treatment options and access to information, services and support; advance planning for health, housing, finances, care and risk reduction; and better overall health outcomes.

This is especially important, as one in 11 Virginians aged 45 and older report that they are experiencing confusion or memory loss, and nearly half of them have not discussed it with their health care professionals (2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System). Referred to as Subjective Cognitive Decline, these memory impairments interrupt the daily life of affected Virginians. Nearly 30% stated they needed help with daily household chores, 25 percent had to give up day-to-day activities and 2 in 5 stated these memory impairments interfered with social activities.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Of the top 10 leading causes of death, it is the only one without a way to prevent, treat, or cure the disease. Click here to learn how you can take action as an Alzheimer’s Advocate.

Cognitive infographic

Team up with Alpha Kappa Alpha for The Longest Day

1 Feb


Thanks to Alpha Kappa Alpha for helping raise awareness and funds to #ENDALZ

On The Longest Day let’s do what we love for all those we love affected by Alzheimer’s. Join AKA as we raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association®. Across the nation, we’ll do activities to honor caregivers, those living with the disease and those we’ve lost.
Join us at


Why I Walk Wednesday with JoAnne Coniglio

26 Oct


His Voice

I am writing this on behalf of my brother Revell Milliner. He was often too shy to use his voice. He cannot speak today because a dementia-like illness took his life in 2007. His disease lasted about seven years. When we were children our parents often sent both
of us to the little country store down the street from our house to pick up necessary items like Maxwell House coffee. They knew he was too shy to ask for items by name, and they knew that his little sister was not too shy to say anything. They could count on him to patiently control his rambunctious little sister if she would just be his voice.

He was not always comfortable speaking but he could speak to nature with love and compassion like no one I have ever known. He frequently brought home injured animals that he found on the farm or in the woods. He was hunting and fishing at a young age. What I remember most about what he brought home from those hunting trips were injured animals . One was a fox that had been caught in a trap. He kept it in a cage in the back yard until its leg was healed enough to let it go back to the wild. I also remember the crow with the injured wing, that he nursed back to health. I’m sure that the same crow returned to our house often over the years.

As and adult he worked many long hours, but he was always happiest when he was out in nature. He spent many hours in his 3-acre garden raising the most delicious strawberries and Hayman potatoes. He even had a fox that would show up most nights to eat yogurt with strawberries that my brother would feed her from a spoon. Some of his favorite hobbies were to duck hunt, fish and clam in Metompkin Bay. He could talk for hours with his friends and family. One gift he gave our children was the gift of imagination. Fairies, Santa and any magical creature became alive in his vivid tales of their adventures. About mid-way through his illness we tried to take him out in his boat on Metompkin Bay, it was devastating to watch the fear in his eyes because he was so afraid of the trip. I held his hand and tried to help him remember the past.

We watched him lose the ability to work, to garden, to hunt, to fish and to key-hole clams like no other. We watched him lose the ability to speak even to his family and nature. We watched him lose the ability to take care of himself. I held his hand all day the day he died and told him it was all okay and that he would again be able to walk in nature again and breath in the salt air.

Just the other night I dreamed that my brother was still alive and getting healthier because there was a new drug that had been developed that could gradually reverse the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. I woke up with such excitement!!!

Two years ago, our daughter had a son and named him Revell. My hope and prayer is that through the work and support of the Alzheimer’s Association a drug will be developed in this young Revell’s lifetime.

I hope Revell’s voice speaks to us all to encourage us to support the Alzheimer’s Association and its work!

You can support the Alzheimer’s Association by donating to a Walk team or an individual walker by going to 

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