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Why I Walk with Brad Fleenor

19 Jul

Why I Walk Wednesday- BRAD FLEENOR

My name is Brad Fleenor and I am the 2017 Coastal Virginia Walk to End Alzheimer’s Walk Chair and I Walk to End Alzheimer’s for my grandmother Mimi.

My Mimi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and from that moment on, my family has been deeply impacted by this disease.  One spring day, while I was living outside of Atlanta, I called my Mimi for our weekly chat, and she said how much she missed me and was coming to see me.  This completely caught me off guard. My Mimi, at the age of 74, driving through downtown Atlanta?  I thought this must be a joke. Much to my surprise, that weekend, Mimi called me as she was coming through Atlanta stating that she was almost to my house.  

Now, this must seem like normal to you, but it certainly is out of character for her. Mimi would never drive that far alone. That visit turned into a three-month visit and we had a great time during her extended time with me, from cooking dinner together, to going out and exploring Georgia.
Life moves by so quickly, and if we had only connected the dots back then, I believe we would have all chosen to get to spend three months with our vibrant grandmother.  I was the first grandchild, and clearly, I was the favorite, so I thought.  Now I know all her family was special to her. This was truly her last road trip by herself.

Later on, our family moved from the happy times, laughing and celebrating life, to my Mom and Dad faithfully taking care of her day in and day out.  Having Mimi live with them, assisting her with her daily life activities, was not a choice, it is what they did.  We did not have to sacrifice family time, our family was growing, with my sister expecting her first child and Mimi going on all our family trips and vacations, to Massanutten, Virginia Wineries, Charleston, Nags Head and Fort Lauderdale,  we sure did have fun and as my Mother always says, “we made memories” during these difficult times. As time went on, the care became too much for my parents to handle, eventually moving Mimi back home to her same town in Liberty, Kentucky, to be near her other children and grandchildren. With my Mom and Dad making many trips to Kentucky to visit Mimi, things would never be the same. After a while, Mimi did not know them and now lives in her own world each day.  

Brad Fleenor
Walk Chair
Coastal Virginia Walk


Why I Walk Wednesday with Brettani Cropper

5 Jul

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Alzheimer’s took my paternal grandmother’s life in February of 2007. Now it is trying to claim my father’s. He was diagnosed with early onset in October of 2009. It is one of the worst diseases to watch a loved one go through. Besides the memory loss and not being able to perform daily tasks, the hardest thing for me to deal with is the personality change. My dad was very outgoing and loved to make people laugh (I’m sure that’s where I get it from), but since being diagnosed I have watched him go through many changes. You never realize the things you take for granted until they are taken away from you. What I wouldn’t give to be able to have a normal conversation with my dad again. Even though he is still here physically, I feel as though I’ve lost him. Having to experience all of this with not just one loved one but two, I hope to aid in finding the cure so that millions of families will not have to endure this horrific disease.

Williamsburg Walk
Brettani Cropper, Team Captain
Memory Savers

Why I Walk Wednesday with Pat Davis

28 Jun

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Once again our team is supporting the Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 7, 2017. As many of you know we have moved Mother to an Assisted Living/Memory Care Facility here in Virginia.  We walk to honor Mother as well as reclaim the future for millions of others.

I am so proud of Mother for her courage and positive attitude as she navigates this journey on uncharted waters. She continues to encourage those around her, participate in activities, and she still loves to sing. One lady said to her, “I do not know why I am here.” Mother’s answer was “Maybe this is where God wants you to be right now.” She then gave the lady a big hug.

Putting puzzles together has become one of her favorite activities and it is so good for her. My sister Kathy and I feel so blessed to have her close by. Even when she may not be sure who we are, she always enjoys a visit from family and friends. She also loves getting mail.

We are committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research, care, and support. This is why we walk.

Peninsula Walk
Pat Davis, Team Captain
Pop’s Breakfast Babes Plus You

Why I Walk Wednesday with Janet Eubank

30 Nov


We are walking in the Walk 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 and thought my children who have grandchildren of their own were still young at home. Mother passed away in 2015. We don’t want anyone else to forget who they are or who we are, so join us in our fight against Alzheimers.

Janet Eubank, team captain of Jean’s Winners
Coastal Virginia Walk


Why I Walk Wednesday with Stephen Opitz

23 Nov


I’m walking in honor and memory of my grandfather, Robert  Painter, to help reclaim the future for millions. My grandfather was a brilliant man who unfortunately lost his battle with Alzheimer’s three years ago. 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.

Please join me and other Princess Anne High School students, families, and friends and walk in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and 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.

Coastal VA Walk
Stephen Opitz, team captain
PAHS Brain Trust

Why I Walk Wednesday with Brookdale Virginia Beach

16 Nov

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At Brookdale Virginia Beach we all have different reasons why we support ALZ:

“I support the end to ALZ because it’s such a debilitating disease.  Supporting our residents with ALZ is very rewarding.” – Rebecca Foster, Business Office Coordinator

“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects not only the residents but the entire family.  I support ALZ to provide happiness to the residents affected and watch them smile when speaking of their memories.” – Missy Marshall, Health & Wellness Director

“I support the end to ALZ hoping to eliminate the fear and pain caused by the disease to those afflicted and their loved ones.” – Felicia Packer, Sales & Marketing Manager

“I support ALZ because it is not just a resident disease but a community disease.  The more we educate ourselves on the signs and steps of ALZ the more we will be prepared to face this disease head on and not from the shadows.” – Perry LaCore, Resident Care Coordinator

“I support the end to ALZ for a better outcome for everyone’s future.  Finding a cure would benefit those who are lost, confused, hurt, and/or angry throughout this process.  Finding a cure will give everyone involved a sense of hope and clearly understanding what is going on around them.  Finding a cure can continue to fulfill the lives we truly enjoy by doing things we never imagine doing.” – Lanice Baker, Clare Bridge Program Coordinator

Brookdale Virginia Beach – Clarebridge Forget Me Nots
Diamond National Team
Le’Anne Bailey Hayes, team captain

Why I Walk Wednesday Kristen Simonette Messmore

9 Nov


I’m walking in honor of my dad who had Alzheimer’s for 8-10 years.  He passed away just 2 days shy of his 74th birthday.  He was looking forward to creating some incredible memories in his retirement.  Because of this terrible disease, he lost the ability to do most of the things he loved to travel, drive, or visit the Elks.

I’m so sad that my dad didn’t have the opportunity to be the grandpa he wanted to be and that my kids won’t remember what he was like when he was well.  I miss being able to talk with him like we used to about cars, life, & travel.  This disease has robbed us all of so much.

I walk in hopes that no one else will have to suffer through this disease, so that others will have the retirement they had hoped for, been the grandpa they had wanted to be, and continue to have conversations with their kids about travel, life, and cars, so that no one else will be robbed like we were.

I walk so that we can raise the funds needed to put an end to Alzheimer’s so no one else will have to experience the grief that we have.

Coastal VA Walk
Simi’s Buds Team
Kristen Simonette Messmore, team captain