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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

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!