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Why I Walk with Lori Luckman

23 Aug

Why I Walk Wednesday- lORI lUCKMAN

I am a volunteer and this year’s Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s co-chair. My mother-in-law, Fran was a woman who loved life. She swam 23 laps a day, bowled and played golf.  She loved watching football and basketball. She was a phenomenal cook and an avid reader.

Now, 4 years into this disease, Fran communicates using fragmented sentences interjected with the wrong words. She can no longer read, she doesn’t know what day it is and she sees and believes things that are not there.  I miss who she was and the close relationship that we had. Every day that I see her, my heart breaks and the mourning starts all over again.

Fran has Lewy Body Dementia.  Dr. Lewy identified proteins in people’s brains suffering from memory loss and confusion.  Hence, the name Lewy Body.  Like Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body is another form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association works to help people with all types of dementia, not just Alzheimers.

Hopefully, one day there will be a way to detect early onset dementia.  Then, perhaps a treatment will be available.  And maybe one day, there will be a cure.  It’s too late for Fran, but not for the millions of people who will be diagnosed with some form of dementia in the years to come.  Don’t assume that this cannot happen to you. If you have a brain, you are at risk.

Please join at one of the walks and help us fight for an end to Alzheimer’s.

Lori Luckman
Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s Co-Chair

Why I Walk with Julie Olson

16 Aug


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Julie Olson’s Dad, Julius Daniel Benton, Jr.


I am proud to walk in support of the Alzheimer’s Association to honor my dad, Julius Daniel Benton, Jr.  My dad lost his fight with Frontal Lobar Degeneration (FTD) in 2008.  Although he didn’t have Alzheimer’s, his disease was just as devastating and the result was the same. He had no chance of survival because there is no cure.  We have also lost my Aunt Jack to Parkinson’s Dementia and my Aunt Ginny to Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dementia is devastating – no matter what form it takes.

Dad was the best father a girl could ever ask for.  The love he had for his family was admirable as he always put us first.  He loved us with all his heart and was always quick to tell us he loved us, give hugs, or hold hands.  His love for music was evident his entire life as he played trumpet at school, church, and professionally.  He passed on that love for music to us and I cherish that.  Dementia robbed Dad of a lot of things – his ability to walk, talk, and do things that people take for granted every day.  I learned so much from Dad in the time I had with him, even in the face of adversity with dementia.  Dementia took him from us at the young age of 68.

I walk to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association for research to find a cure.  Through your donations, we can help make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia, their families, and folks who may suffer from dementia in the years to come.

Although Dad is no longer with us, I fight to find a cure so that no one else will have to endure what Dad did.  I hope there will be a cure so no one else has to lose their loved ones to this horrible disease.  My husband and children never got to meet Dad but his legacy will live on through me and others who are inspired by his life and fight with dementia.  We can make a difference and there will be a cure!

Julie Olson
The Benton Bunch, Team Captain
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 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

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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