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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

Why I Walk with Melissa Bailey 

25 Oct

Why I Walk Wednesday- Melissa Bailey

My grandmother Jeannette was from the mountains of Kentucky. She was raised to create a life for herself, taught sustainability, and ultimately lived a humble existence surrounded by her 9 children. The woman was hard. She was not the grandmother you think of as soft, sweet and lovely. She was strong and disciplined. She was proud and unwavering. When she was first showing signs of dementia, we honestly just thought she was growing more reclusive and impatient. She had been somewhat that way her entire life. But then it got worse and ultimately she lost all ability to complete any activities of daily living. We had to feed her, help her in all aspects of life. It was horrifying because she would never have allowed it. I still don’t know if she ever realized what was happening because she progressed so quickly, but if she did, it would have killed her. And that’s why I walk. To help preserve the dignity of hardworking proud people like my grandmother and educate families about the disease so they can give their loved ones the best existence possible.

Melissa Bailey
Brookdale Williamsburg Champions
Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s

 

Why I Walk With Diana Lumley

18 Oct

Why I Walk Wednesday- Diana Lumley

My first connection with Alzheimer’s was with my maternal grandmother.  My grandmother passed away in 1996 at the age of 82 after having the disease for 7 years.  I was working in Northern Virginia at the time and only made it to the Shore 3-4 times a year, but I became very familiar with the disease.  The repeated conversations over and over and over again. Grandma not knowing who anyone was or where she was living.  Her primary caregivers were my grandfather, his sister, and my mother.  Due to my Grandmothers illness, my mother and I had many conversations about what we would want to be done for us should we also be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  My mother always told me that she did not want me to have to care for her 24 hours a day should she become like her mother.

My mom, Barbara, made a modest living but she saved, invested wisely and planned for a future with the possibility of Alzheimer’s.  Barbara purchased long-term health care coverage for her lifetime and the inflation waiver offered on the policy.  Mom had a medical/ financial power of attorney, living will and her assets put into a trust.  Mom made sure I had a key to her safety deposit box and knew where all of her important papers were.  Even with the experience with my Grandmother, all the talks with mom, all the preparations that my mother made, it was still overwhelming when it happened.  Our whole lives changed on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

In the spring of 2013, mom had been diagnosed with a form of dementia called Picks.  Mom had been declining. She had small traffic accidents, so we got her to stop driving. She could not figure out which burner to turn off on the stove or how to put on pantyhose.  The week prior to October 30, mom became almost loopy, losing her balance seeming confused and on October 30 her partner could barely get her out of bed and mom could not figure out how to dress.  Mom’s partner, Wayne, called the doctor and they said to take her to the emergency room.  From that day on mother never walked on her own again.  Mom was admitted to the hospital and stayed there a week.  Mom had a severe UTI, urinary tract infection.  Between the UTI and her dementia, she could no longer walk, write her own name,  have a conversation or tell you her birthday.  I thought the disease would progress slowly like it had been and we would have time to adjust and make decisions, but overnight my world, my mother’s world all changed.

Mom was in the hospital a week and the doctor told me she could not go home. She would need to go to rehab and have around the clock care.  Thankfully I have wonderful friends and family that came to my aid and helped me find the Hermitage. Mom moved into the skilled care side on November 2, 2013, after being in the hospital for a week.  I thought she would be able to move to assisted living, but that was not to be. I was away from my job for two weeks, one week with mom in the hospital and one week making sure she was settled at the Hermitage.  I went back home to Ashburn, VA, did my one hour and fifteen-minute commute each way to Alexandria, worked my 12 hour day, I work retail, and all I kept thinking about was my mom.  I went home that night and thought, I can’t do this,  I need to be with my mother.  I went to work the next day and resigned.  I came to the Shore every week and in the spring I put my house on the market.  I sold the house in June and moved to Parksley in July and that was three years ago.

I visit mom every day.  I help feed her, brush her teeth, comb her hair, wash her face, put on her lipstick, keep her nails painted, and entertain her.  Since 2013 mom has lost almost all of her language skills (she was voted most talkative in her senior class in high school), no longer feeds herself, and can not do anything for herself.  The one thing that mom can still do is laugh and smile.  My mother always said, “when I get up in the morning, I put my feet on the floor and I choose to be cheerful”.  I am very blessed that while mom has lost so much of herself, she is still cheerful. I walk in honor of my mom and in the hopes that one day we may have a first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diana Lumley
Hermitage Hummingbirds 
Eastern Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s

October Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Pandajis

10 Oct

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Congratulations to our October Volunteer of the Month, Tim Pandajis. Tim Pandajis is the Daybreak meteorologist at 13News Now, the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, VA and a friend to the Alzheimer’s Association for many years now. Most recently, Tim was the emcee at the Coastal Virginia Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Tim has a personal connection to Alzheimer’s as so many of our volunteers do; his grandmother, Christine Anastasion suffered from the disease that led to her passing in 2010. He watched as precious memories were stolen from her one by one and her family became strangers. He shared that it wasn’t just his grandmother who suffered, it was the entire family. The feeling of helplessness set in early on as they watched the disease envelop all their lives.

Tim is from Connecticut. He is one of the most passionate meteorologists in the field; you can definitely tell watching him that he loves what he does. He holds the distinguished Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society and earned his B.S. degree in Meteorology from Western Connecticut State University. Picking up and leaving town after graduation to chase his dream of being a television meteorologist took him to Hagerstown, Maryland where he landed his first position. From there he moved on to Richmond, VA where he met his amazing wife, Martha. They were married in May of 2016 before moving to Chesapeake where they currently live. Martha and her family also share the connection to Alzheimer’s disease; Martha’s grandfather suffered from it when she was a child.

Tim and Martha are huge animal lovers and have 3 dogs, one of which, Bentley the golden retriever, you may have seen joining Tim at the TV station some mornings. Together, Tim and his wife love to volunteer and help in the community they now call home. Working with the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Virginia, they hope to continue increasing awareness so one day soon we will have our first of many survivors.

Click here to view Tim’s Why I Walk story!

Why I Walk with Stephen Opitz

20 Sep

 

Why I Walk Wednesday_StephenOpitz

Pictured above is Stephen Opitz’s Grandfather, Robert Painter.

 

I’m walking in honor and memory of my grandfather to help reclaim the future for millions. My grandfather was a brilliant man who unfortunately lost his battle with Alzheimer’s four years ago this July. By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research, care and support so we can find a cure and stop losing so many amazing people to this terrible disease.

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

I need your support to do my part! Please join me and other Princess Anne High School students, families, and friends and walk in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the Va Beach Boardwalk on Saturday, September 23, 2017. If you are able, PLEASE make a donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s.  For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Stephen Opitz
Team Captain, PAHS Brain Trust
Coastal Virginia Walk

Why I Walk with Janet Eubank

2 Aug

Why I Walk Wednesday- Janet Eubank

We are walking in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to honor my mother, Jean Emmel who suffered from Alzheimer’s for 10 years. She always had a smile on her face even when she wasn’t sure just who I was or thought my children, who have grandchildren of their own, were still young at home. Mother passed away in 2015.

This is our team’s second year participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and we are so happy to join the other walkers and teams.  Alzheimer’s not only affects the life of the person with the disease, but also the lives of the family and friends who love them. Any donation is greatly appreciated and every dollar raised makes a difference.  God bless you all.

Janet Eubank
Co-Captain, Jean’s Winners
Coastal Virginia Walk