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Why I Walk with Melissa Minkowski

8 Aug

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My dad was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 55. My grandma Elsie (my dad’s mom) passed from Alzheimer’s. Oh, what I would’ve given to know then what I know now…

Now, my husband and I are now going through different forms of dementia with his parents. To see 3 of your 4 parental figures in your life go through dementia or Alzheimer’s is something that I’ve come to see as a sign to get involved, to spread the word, spread awareness, to get educated, to help others, to support others with whatever knowledge I pick up from the experiences that I’ve seen or endured. No one prepares you for what you have to do or see when you have to take care of your parents.

This walk is to honor not only my Dad, but my Mom who is amazing and loving and supports my dad and myself every day. This is also for our family/friends (because our friends are our family) that love him near and far. And it’s for those that are going through similar heartache and loss. I hope to help those that are new to this shift in “normal”. And to help everyone know that we are all together in this.

Please take the time to help educate, donate to research and development, walk with us or simply share this with your friends and family. Every little bit counts.

MELISSA MINKOWSKI
TEAM CAPTAIN OF WILLIE’S WALKERS
COASTAL VIRGINIA WALK

Why I Walk with Faith Belote

1 Aug

2018 Why I Walk Graphic Faith Belote

I walk to honor my father’s memory and my mother’s steadfast love and devotion as his caregiver over a ten-year journey. This couple worked hard and saved for retirement but the travel and relaxation were not as anticipated. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis stole those precious years. This long battle day by day took its toll on my mother until we convinced her that her health was just as important and placed my dad in memory care during the last two years. His death was bittersweet and I do miss him. Even towards the end, his gentle personality showed through the disease.

I walk because I want to see a cure in my lifetime. I want my children and the next generation to be free from Alzheimer’s disease. The health of our nation will be dramatically improved. To make progress, it must be a team effort. Therefore walking with my team and my community is important to the cause and helps to provide hope for the future.

Faith Belote

 

April Volunteer Spotlight: Pat Lewis

24 Apr

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Congratulations to Pat Lewis, our April Volunteer of the Month! Pat is a fantastic volunteer and has been instrumental in raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association® through the Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s® and volunteering as a facilitator for our early-stage support groups.

When Pat moved back to the area from northern California in 2009, she temporarily lived with a friend in the Port Warwick neighborhood in Newport News. Watching purple-clad participants of that year’s Peninsula Walk from her bedroom window was her first brush with the chapter. Pat retired from Anheuser Busch in late 2011 after 21 years with the company working in various positions within the Operations and People Departments.

Pat became a walk participant and volunteer in the fall of 2013 after losing her uncle, who had been a caregiver for her aunt who had Alzheimer’s. Because of her family’s experience and loss, Pat reached out to the Williamsburg office looking for an opportunity to help other families living with Alzheimer’s. She was the sole member of her walk team that year and still remembers the inspiring sense of hope and commitment shared by participants. In addition to beginning her association with the Alzheimer’s Association in 2013, Pat entered the College of William and Mary where she pursued a Masters in Community and Addictions Counseling. While in graduate school, Pat served as a facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association early stage support group in Williamsburg. It was the privilege of getting to know these courageous men and women living with this disease every day with strength and integrity increased her belief that “the End of Alzheimer’s begins with me” enough to overcome her insecurities about asking others to help and contribute. In 2014 Pat became the logistics chair for the Williamsburg Walk and continued in the role until 2017 when she took the reigns as Volunteer Event Chair. Pat’s leadership led the Williamsburg Walk to one of its most successful years, with over 800 participants raising close to $154,000!

After graduating in May 2015, Pat worked as a mental health and substance abuse counselor at a local community services board. Normally always on the go, you would be hard-pressed to find Pat relaxing. In her spare time, she does love to garden and work outdoors. In her own words, “nothing is more therapeutic than putting your fingers in the dirt”. Pat also enjoys reading and is a big history buff, planning to visit all the James River plantations this year.

We are so fortunate to have Pat as a dedicated volunteer with our Chapter! To learn more about how you can volunteer, please visit our website at https://www.alz.org/seva/in_my_community_104988.asp

March Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Hendershot

15 Mar

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Congratulations to Barbara Hendershot, our March Volunteer of the Month! Barbara is a fantastic volunteer and has been instrumental in raising funds for our chapter on the Eastern Shore.

Barbara first connected with our chapter after attending the Eastern Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s® about 7 years ago with her husband Charles. Her husband had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Only a year after their first walk, Charles was moved to Heritage Hall Nursing Center to receive full-time care. Barbara visited her husband daily and met Robin Sexaur, an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, during these visits. The two became friends and Robin convinced Barbara to join our chapter’s Eastern Shore Alzheimer’s Leadership Council. Since then, Barbara has volunteered to help organize her local Walk to End Alzheimer’s. To raise money for the walk, Barbara places over 30 collecting jars all over the Eastern Shore every walk season. She also loves to sell car raffle tickets and hopes that maybe this year she will sell the winning ticket! Barbara enjoys the work associated with the walk as she loves to stay busy and connect with people who have also been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately, Charles passed away in 2016, just a few months shy of their 65th wedding anniversary. Barbara and Charles had grown up together in New Jersey. They met in high school and got married when Barbara was only 16 and he 18. They built their home together with the help of family and friends. As a couple, Barbara and Charles did everything together. They even took a trip across the United States and Canada, living out of a motor home for several weeks together. About 20 years ago, they moved from New Jersey to Schooner Bay to better pursue their love of fishing and other activities. While Barbara still misses her husband, she looks back on their life together fondly and enjoys telling stories of their adventures with her children and grandchildren. Barbara loves to travel to visit her family who are now scattered across the country. She especially loves visiting Florida and taking cruises with her family. Barbara loves cruises for relaxing and wearing fun vacation dresses. Her favorite destinations so far include Aruba and St. Thomas.14732386_1391614904200542_8503304491031486330_n

Now Barbara likes to stay busy as an avid volunteer in the Eastern Shore community. In addition to her involvement with our chapter, Barbara also volunteers at Heritage Hall and loves to help residents find whatever they may need when they go on shopping trips together. She also volunteers as an after-school tutor for children in preschool and kindergarten. She loves to help the young students with their homework and entertains them with games.

A profile of Barbara would not be complete without mentioning her special connection to swans. Barbara often wished for swans to come swim in their cove in Schooner Bay. Amazingly, after her son passed away at the young age of 27, two swans landed in their cove and stayed for about two years. This was a special sign to Barbara as her son had given Barbara two lovely glass blown swans as a gift before he had passed. Now she displays a beautiful lighted swan on her front yard at Christmastime for all of her neighbors to enjoy.

We are so fortunate to have Barbara as a dedicated volunteer with our Chapter! To learn more about how you can volunteer, please visit our website at https://www.alz.org/seva/in_my_community_104988.asp

February Volunteer Spotlight: Cathy Ann Nadeau

15 Feb

 

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Photo from the 2005 Walk. Pictured from left to right: Jim White, Joe Flanagan, Cathy’s Mom, Rudy Boesch, Cathy and Lance Nadeau

 

Congratulations to our February Volunteer of the Month, Cathy Ann Nadeau. Cathy first connected to our Chapter after her mother was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s in 2002. Since then she has frequented many of our educational programs and has acted as an avid volunteer for the Chapter.

After her mother was first diagnosed, Cathy wanted to learn as much information as possible so she reached out to the Chapter. She attended many of our educational programs and even our Caregiver Conference held in June. She also checked out many materials from the Chapter Library, wanting to learn as much as she could and looking for strategies. Since then she has helped spread the word about the programs and services we offer. She encourages anyone struggling in the face of a diagnosis to attend Chapter-sponsored support groups and/or educational programs.  She believes that knowing that you are not alone and realizing that there are others going through the same challenges, is the key to surviving as a caregiver.

Cathy found the services so helpful that she wanted to help reach more members of our community. As a result, Cathy began to volunteer with the Chapter. She became the Virginia Beach Walk to End Alzheimer’s® Chair in 2004 and still volunteers to help with Walk to this day. This past year she gathered co-workers to help bundle t-shirts for all six Walks in Southeastern Virginia. In previous years, she and her co-workers assembled Promise Garden Flowers for the Walks.

Cathy and her husband Lance were also avid supporters of the annual Beach Ball thrown by the Parrot Head Club of Tidewater. Although last year was the 20th and final year of the successful event, she and a group of annual attendees, known as the Fun Bunch, decided to continue their Beach Ball tradition. They reserved their suite at the Wyndham Oceanfront Hotel and conducted a mini Beach Ball. It was an evening of decorations, music, games, silent auction, and a check presentation for $684.00. Even friends who were unable to attend called in to bid on prizes that included mystery grab bags filled with treats, koozies, and even vintage Beach Ball wine glasses. This group, including Cathy and her husband, wanted to ensure that the spirit of the Beach Ball was kept alive so that those dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s never feel alone.

When she is not volunteering with the Chapter, Cathy manages the Virginia Beach Office of Jones CPA Group. She has worked in the accounting field for over 33 years and enjoys getting to know her clients, describing many of her long-term clients as family. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. She loves the beach and she and her husband, Lance collect sea glass, which her brother transforms into beautiful crafts and jewelry.  She would often raffle off a piece of beach glass jewelry to fundraise for her Walk team.  

We are so fortunate to have Cathy as a dedicated volunteer with our Chapter! To learn more about how you can volunteer, please visit our website at https://www.alz.org/seva/in_my_community_104988.asp

November Volunteer Spotlight: Tony Macrini

13 Nov

VolunteerSpotlight - TONY MACRINI

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Tony Macrini emceeing at the Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Congratulations to our November Volunteer of the Month, Tony Macrini. Tony is a talk show host for the WNIS AM790 Morning Show and a long time friend to the Alzheimer’s Association. Tony, for several years, has volunteered as emcee for our Peninsula and Williamsburg Walks, lending his booming voice to our cause.

Tony Macrini was born in New York City and attended Parochial schools while growing up. Tony, his younger sister, and parents moved to New Jersey in 1961. He attended and graduated from South Brunswick High School where he was active in Theatre Arts, cross-country, Wrestling, and Track. Shortly after graduation, Tony enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged and then went to broadcasting school. Tony has been a broadcaster for 35 years – 33 in Virginia. He lives in Williamsburg and has two sons- his oldest serving in the Navy.

Macrini and his team start their broadcasting day at 6 a.m and deliver programming until 10 a.m., Monday through Friday on WNIS AM790. They’re up before the sun with the focus on local weather, traffic, headlines and the time of the day. His show includes nationally syndicated segments by Mike Evans from Hollywood and Earl Pitts, America’s favorite redneck. Tony’s entertaining and dynamic conversations focus on a variety of topics from politics to practically anything. The show also combines up-to-the-minute FOX news, Wall Street Journal Reports, weather, traffic, sports and interesting guests.

Through his morning show, Tony has provided the chapter with much-needed exposure in our local area. Tony has welcomed many members of our chapter, Alzheimer’s Association staff, volunteers, and local Alzheimer’s disease experts on his show over the years. Thanks to his show, our chapter has been able to educate thousands of local residents about Association services, programs, and fundraising efforts.

Working with the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia Chapter, Tony hopes to continue increasing awareness so one day soon we will have our first of many survivors.

To learn more about Tony Macrini’s show or to listen live please click here: http://www.wnis.com/programming/tony_macrini

If you are interested in volunteering with our chapter, you can learn more information on our website at http://www.alz.org/seva/in_my_community_104988.asp

Why I Walk with Robin Jones

1 Nov

Why I Walk Wednesday- Robin Jones

I walk in honor of my mom Otelia Jones who passed away a year and a half ago. She was a very loving, strong, and wonderful mother of 13 kids. She always made sure we came together for all the major holidays. I will always remember singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve to having big Thanksgiving dinners with all her kids. Family meant the world to her. She also loved to cook and sing in the church choir.

My mom passed away 6 months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In those 6 months, I watched this disease take away everything she has ever known. It was so hard watching this disease diminish her capacity to remember the people she loved so much. I also walk because I don’t want other families to go through what mine has gone through; watching their love for one another slip away each day.

I’m hoping that a cure is soon found to end this horrible and debilitating disease. Until then I will walk to end Alzheimer’s.

Robin Jones
Team Captain, Making a Difference
Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s