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Why I Walk Wednesday with Jason Herring

2 Nov


My first experience with Alzheimer’s (although I didn’t know what it was) was when I was around 10 years old. I remember going to the hospital to visit my grandpa who’d been recovering from open heart surgery. When I walked through the door I said “Hey, grandpa,” to which he responded, “Who are you?” I remember being really upset because my grandpa was a hero to me, but I didn’t realize until his funeral a few months later that the reason he couldn’t remember me was because he had Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s became a bigger part of my life when I started working at Atlantic Shores. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some awesome residents and, unfortunately. I’ve seen some of them suffer the effects of Alzheimer’s. It’s hard to watch someone you care for, go from lively and active to a more monitored and structured lifestyle.

Why do I walk for Alzheimer’s? I walk because a lot of the people affected by Alzheimer’s are military and they fought for my freedom. I walk because a lot of the people affected were teachers and nurses that helped teach and care for people. I walk because a lot of the people affected were laborers who worked hard their whole life to build this country to what it is today and provided for their families. And lastly, I walk for the families of the people affected by Alzheimer’s because I don’t want anyone to have the same feeling I did as a kid when my grandpa asked, “Who are you?”

Jason Herring 
Aquatics and Fitness Coordinator
Atlantic Shores, the Neighborhood for 55 and Better in Virginia Beach

Why I Walk Wednesday with Judy Prado

21 Sep

why-i-walk-wednesday_withjudypradoI’m walking for my mother, Martha Carter, and for the millions of others who do not deserve to live with and die from this horrible disease. By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care, and support.

My mother lived with Alzheimers for 7 years before it killed her in August of 2011 at 90 years of age. She was a strong, healthy woman who devoted her life unselfishly to her husband and 5 children and 10 grandchildren. She was so proud of the closeness in her family, of every accomplishment, of every picture and every family gathering. She did everything right – there was always a crossword puzzle book on the table by her chair, she went to the library, she bought books, she’d read a book a day and remember all of them, she loved playing gin rummy, she was an avid Jeopardy fan, and when Trivial Pursuit came out she’d find someone to play every day and she’d win every time! She had a thirst for knowledge – she wanted to do your homework! She sewed, crocheted, did crafts. And then, ever so slowly, Alzheimer’s took it all away.

I think what I most want people to understand is that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease – it kills you. I’ve met so many people – untouched by this cruel disease – who think that it makes you forget who people are and do strange things, which it does but all of that is really the least of it. We need them to realize that after Alzheimer’s has destroyed your mind, your ability to do anything you enjoy, and your memories of everything and everyone you loved, it attacks your body and physically destroys you just as slowly and cruelly as it did mentally.

Join me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s!  Join us this Saturday at the Coastal Virginia Walk To End Alzheimer’s.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Carla E. Morin-Diehl

3 Aug

Why I Walk Wednesday_WITH CARLA MORIN-DIEHLAs I write this at 2:00 am I am overwhelmed with emotion. We have spent the entire day at doctor’s offices and a trip to the hospital because my father crushed his finger this morning in the car door when we got to daycare. So anxious to get in to see his new friends, he didn’t pay attention to what he was doing. He crushed the tip of his finger, lost his fingernail and had a dozen or so stitches. Bandaged up we left the doctor’s office to have him pull the bandage off in less than 10 minutes. Back for another bandage that didn’t even last an hour. So to the emergency room we went because it wouldn’t stop bleeding. Thankfully they put his finger in a splint so that he can’t remove the bandage.

Why am I writing this? Imagine a man that was the first to graduate from college in his family. Imagine a man that retired at 58 as a vice president of a major corporation. Imagine a man that was one of the smartest men you have ever met. There was nothing that he couldn’t do.

In August of 2008, my Daddy and I went to a Red Sox game in Baltimore, something we did for many years. We always stayed in the same hotel, ate at the same places, this trip wasn’t any different. But my Daddy was. He was confused, a bit disoriented, not knowing exactly where he was. I thought he must just be a bit tired. We enjoyed the game and came home the next day. I told my Mom about how he was and she wasn’t concerned, agreed with me that he must have just been tired.

In January of 2013, our worst nightmare came true. My Daddy was diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer’s disease. When seen by the neurologist and tested, he didn’t pass a test. He was losing his ability to understand even the simplest things. My family was devastated.

2 years ago, I signed up for the Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s and raised enough money to become a Grand Champion. The morning of the Walk I didn’t have any idea what to expect and honestly I was overcome with emotion. My team was small and together we raise over $3000.00. It was so moving and emotional to see for the first time that we were not alone. That there are so many families that are affected by this disease; I knew I had to do this again.

Last year, I walked in the Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s and once again became a Grand Champion. Our team grew to over 20 people and we raised over $6000.00.

This year I was humbled to accept the Chair position for the Peninsula Walk, raising money for ALZ has become my passion. My Daddy fortunately still knows his family, is still very social, but he has lost all comprehension. He is delusional; he doesn’t remember what happened 2 minutes before. His brain has been robbed by this insidious disease, a disease that is the number 6 killer each year.

You never understand the magnitude of this disease until you are faced with it head on. The disease of abandonment, where people that you thought were your friends, slowly stop calling and eventually go away. The disease of the long goodbye, in essence you lose your loved one twice. My Daddy has been gone now for many years. This man looks and sounds like my Daddy, but my Daddy is gone. In his place is a man that is like a little boy, no filter and carefree.

I look forward to a world free from Alzheimer’s disease.

Thanks for reading,
Carla E. Morin-Diehl

Please join me and register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Why I Walk Wednesday with Tiffany Elston

20 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday_Elston

We walk in honor of my mom (Nana) who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s three years ago at the age of 49. 

We walk in support of my dad (Papa) and other caregivers out there that give so much of their time to care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

We walk in memory of all those who have lost their battle with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including my Grandma Tink.

And we walk to show our commitment to the cause and help in raising funds for the much needed research, in hopes that one day there is a cure.

Alzheimer’s knows no bounds and everyone is at risk! The Walk helps you realize you are not alone and together we can make a difference.

Please join with me and register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Why I Walk Wednesday with John Broadwater

13 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday_Broadwater

I walk in honor of my wife, Sharon, who was stricken with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Her mother and a mother’s brother died from this rare form of dementia that robs active, productive people of their memory and abilities as young as their forties— or even earlier. A very bright woman, Sharon was a biology professor at William and Mary when this terrible disease struck her. She was 62 when diagnosed, but by then she had already taken early retirement because she felt she was no longer able to perform at her previous level. She can no longer care for herself and is living at Clare Bridge, a secure dementia unit at Brookdale Senior Living, Williamsburg. I visit her every day and even though I no longer see a spark of recognition in her face, I believe she’s still in there, somewhere. My heart aches because she no longer recognizes her daughters or grandsons, and is missing out on sharing their lives. My heart aches because I miss her so much.

By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m hoping to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support. I walk to help reclaim the future for millions. I walk because I have come to know and care for many brave, devoted families who are dealing with a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I walk because Alzheimer’s is a cruel, fatal disease for which there is neither a cure nor even an effective treatment, and funds for research are woefully scarce.

Please join with me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Thanks again to the Parrot Head Club of Tidewater

11 Feb


19th Annual Bonnie Harrell Parrot Head Charity Beach Ball

Thanks again to the Parrot Head Club of Tidewater. This sold out event was full of food, music, auctions and friends raising over $67,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia Chapter. What a fantastic start to their Walk To End Alzheimer’s® fundraising! They are poised to be a top National Walk Team this year.

The night was kicked off by a great silent auction with over 200 items, all to the music of Mike Proffitt and Dana Silvercloud. Followed by the ballroom opening up with a sumptuous feast and music provided by TFC Band. Thanks to Wesley Peoples for being such an energetic auctioneer and to Joe Britton for being the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Mark your calendars for Feb 4, 2017 because you don’t want to miss the milestone 20th year of this landmark event. See the rest of the photos from the event here, on the Chapter Facebook page.


Find the Parrot Head Club of Tidewater online and on Facebook to join in the fun!

Silver National Walk Team

Why We Walk: Parrot Head or Parrothead is a commonly used nickname for fans of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an “island escapism” lifestyle. His musical hits include “Margaritaville”, “Come Monday” and “Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

In 1994, Jimmy’s Buffett’s father, James Delaney Buffett, Jr. was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away at age 83 in May of 2003, several years after being diagnosed. It was then many clubs elected to do something as a tribute to Jimmy’s father. Our PHiP chapters not only support Alzheimer’s to honor Jimmy’s father but because we’re seeing this devastating plague insinuate itself into our own ranks.

In addition, we’d like to state PHiP Parrot Heads are unique. We take our fundraising responsibilities seriously, but at the same time we can add our own humor into the question Why We Walk as well as our own creativity into fundraising.

We invite everyone to join us as we Party With A Purpose for Alzheimer’s by donating to a participating chapter today! You leave this world a little better with the eradication of Alzheimer’s and having a blast while walking to end Alzheimer’s.


A Walk poem by Sherry Warren

6 Nov



a note from the editor: This should have been released at the beginning of Walk season but I was very busy. This was just too good not to post, so here it is.