Why I Walk Wednesday with Carolyn Yowell

Lighthouse by Joe • Tree by Stanley
Lighthouse by Joe • Tree by Stanley

As the Director of Respite at Williamsburg United Methodist Church (WUMC), I’ve become close to many families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.  I meet loving caregivers doing their absolute best along this journey, and family members doing their best to function in a very confusing world.  Respite offers a bit of hope and joy to families, knowing their loved ones are engaged in a safe, stimulating, social afternoon filled with art, music, exercise, conversation and education while the caregiver can take a much needed break for themselves.  I see our members smile and greet their new friends as they arrive; I see caregivers take a deep breath as they depart for an afternoon away.

Although we cannot cure the disease yet, we can conquer loneliness, boredom and helplessness that often plague individuals.  Respite partners closely with our Williamsburg Alzheimer’s Association representatives to offer education and resources for our families.  We connect caregivers with other caregivers so they can support one another along the journey.  We provide social opportunities for families, in an environment where they can be who they are, and be ok with that.

I participate in the Williamsburg Walk to help the Alzheimer’s Association raise awareness and funds for research, care and support.

I participate in the Williamsburg Walk because I want a better world for our Respite members and their family caregivers, who are my friends.


Our Longest Day teams are the best!

The Longest Day 2015 has been a huge success thanks to our amazing team captains, every team member, and the families and friends who supported them. Thanks to their efforts, over $14,000 has been raised to help provide education and support to individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s throughout Southeastern Virginia.

Donations can be made through August 31, 2015, so if you have been thinking about supporting our teams there is still time. Visit www.alz.org/tld to donate to your favorite team. Be sure to follow our progress on Facebook and in our enewsletter.

THANK YOU! teams for your decision to join us this year and for accepting the challenge to impact the lives of so many in a very positive way.

St. Timothy's Longest Day Team
St. Timothy’s Longest Day Team
St. Timothy’s Longest Day team had a morning drum circle to start their day with Becky Watson (farthest right)
 Jane Farthing leads the  Williamsburg, Unit 110 Bridge team
Jane Farthing leads the Williamsburg, Unit 110 Bridge team
Williamsburg, Unit 110 Bridge team has the right idea
Williamsburg, Unit 110 Bridge team has the right idea
The Longest Day event was held on Friday, June 5 at the Two Rivers Country Club in Williamsburg.
The Longest Day event was held on Friday, June 5 at the Two Rivers Country Club in Williamsburg.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Michael Holloway


I walk in honor of my Dad who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 5 years ago, in support of my Mom who is daily struggling with caring for her husband of 62 years, and in memory of my Granny who died with Alzheimer’s Disease 15 years ago.

I walk, too, in cautious hope that effective treatments may be found very soon, recognizing that the likelihood of Alzheimer’s striking me is not small, and in optimistic expectation that a cure will be discovered before my two sons reach an age of risk.

Speaking practically, I also walk because current funding for research targeting Alzheimer’s and other dementias is woefully inadequate, and the public’s knowledge about brain diseases lags far behind knowledge about most other serious diseases. Walking, and soliciting supporters for walking, helps to increase funding and to raise public awareness.

Everyone, everywhere should long for the day when we are able to #ENDALZ. Walking helps bring that day a little closer to this day.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Linda L. Fanning

I walk because of my mother, Gertrude Virginia Suggs and what she stood for. Mom was a loving, caring and strong person. It is important to me that I do my part to help find a cure for this disease.

My Mom was a beautiful person who cared about not only her family, but others, who she met throughout her life. If there was a need, Mom would do whatever was necessary at that time. On many occasions, she opened up her home to persons in need of a place to stay; or fed those who did not have food, and even provided clothing. For over 20 plus years, Mom volunteered at a local shelter, assisting those in need.

My mom was a very strong woman, even before the passing of her husband. The dementia just destroyed her quality of life and that was hard to watch happen. So my focus is to do what I can to help the medical field get rid of this horrible disease. That’s something I want to see in my lifetime.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Denise Brown


Fifteen years ago I began working with Active Older Adults at the YMCA. I worked there for 5 years and then found a job at Lake Prince Woods a continuing care retirement community. I get to do the programming for the residents in our Residential Living. The folks I get to work with are the reason I Walk.

The before and after of Alzheimer’s has been an education for me. From being active in exercise classes to being bedridden, from going on all the outings to being unable to find their room, from lead singer to mute, from husband and wife to patient and caregiver I’ve worked with folks through the realities of the disease.

I see one resident in particular whenever I reflect. She lead all of our exercise classes, she showed our movies, called bingo, made popcorn, rode around campus on an awesome contraption that was both a bike and a scooter. She loved the beach and had an amazing collection of beach glass. As she began the gradual process I watched her and her husband and children. I will always have them in my heart and the lessons learned from her. I love the residents of our community and I walk for their future and mine.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Hollie and Chuck Bradley


At Home Instead Senior Care®, our tagline is “To Us, It’s Personal®.” The only way we can fulfill our mission to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families is by being personally committed to increasing awareness of the issues seniors face.

We see first-hand how Alzheimer’s disease affects seniors and their families, and our network is committed to raising funds to help end this disease forever.

Hollie and Chuck Bradley who participate in both the PEN and the WB Walks. Their company, Home Instead, is a National Team.
Hollie and Chuck Bradley participate in both the Peninsula and Williamsburg Walks. Their company, Home Instead, is a National Team.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Whitnee Rawles


Growing up, I’ve always had a fascination with the brain and all of its’ many functions. Whether it be relating to areas of psychology or to the field of neurosurgery, I was captivated by the brain! I remember having to give a presentation on Dementia for my physical education class in high school and how confused yet intrigued I was with the research. I then learned about what we call Alzheimer’s. You know the saying, “the shot heard around the world”? Well, I consider Alzheimer’s to be the disease felt around the world. I view it at such because it is an illness that possibly bares more weight on the caregivers and loved ones just as much as the person living the disease.

Fast forward about 5 years and it will be around the time I received terrifying news from my mom regarding my own Grandmother. Alzheimer’s is something I’ve read about online but now it became personal. I felt like I had just stepped in the ring with the disease itself, fighting round for round to help save my Grandmother’s life. It’s been about two years since I’ve received the news, and each day is just as shocking as the last.  Not too long ago, my sister told me how my Grandmother drove to Drug Co which is no more than 5 minutes away from her home and as she went to go back home, she could not remember how to get back. That was the red light that went off in my head that this is real, this moment is real and it was a scary feeling. When I go to North Carolina to see her with my family, I start to see the obvious signs of Alzheimer’s slowly starting to take over. My Grandmother is a woman full of so much life and energy. She is filled with so much Joy and has a heart bigger than this world. She turns 79 in May and as her wisdom only increases, her youthfulness remains steady.

So why do I walk? My Grandmother has the greatest impact behind my reason but I do not just walk for her. I walk for others who are also dealing with such a heavy burden. In school we’ve always been taught that “the mind is a terrible thing to waste”, well I am learning just how true that is. Alzheimer’s to me is like the garbage man, taking out the trash when really it was never really trash at all. Memories should be of a lifetime, they should have no expiration date. I walk for those similar to my Grandmother who may not fully understand what Alzheimer’s is but knows her memory is not quite the same. I walk for those whose voice has been stolen from them due to this horrible disease. Alzheimer’s is not my friend, it is a robber of memories and a murderer of the youthfulness in the soul and spirit. I also walk for hope, understanding, courage and the regaining of power, not just for me or my Grandmother but everyone affected. It is up to us, the caregivers, and the loved ones to continue to step up and fight. Let’s help prevent this from happening to others in the future. Instead of our memories, let’s turn the tables and put an expiration date on the perpetrator itself, Alzheimer’s disease.

Whitnee Rawles and her Grandmother.
Whitnee Rawles and her Grandmother.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Hannah Smith

Mother’s Day 2007 when Hannah was three and half years old and great grandmother was 82 years old.

Eleven year old Hannah Smith in her own words.

I walk because my great grandmother and grandpa had Alzheimer’s. I walk to raise money to end Alzheimer’s. I believe there is a cure for this disease and will save people’s lives or family members. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. But when we walk we are one step closer to finding a cure and ending Alzheimer’s.

Eleven year old Hannah Smith in her own words.
Eleven year old Hannah Smith in her own words.

Why I Walk Wednesday with Erin Moran


I participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® to honor my dad, Joseph F. Moran, who died on December 28, 2005, from Alzheimer’s.  My dad was a devout Catholic man who instilled in his 6 children, along with our Mom (Nancy), the meaning of faith, grace, honesty, and doing the right thing in our lives.

I walk to honor this peaceful, hardworking man who loved his family through good times and bad.  He was so devoted to our Mom and to each of his children in his own special way.  He had a great sense of humor and was quick witted.  His laugh was simple and his ethics paved the way we each live our lives today.  Our dad always wanted “peace and quiet” and lived a tranquil life.  He did not deserve this disease.

I walk to honor this veteran of the United States Air Force, who served in both the Vietnam and Korean wars.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and went on to further his career in computer management.  He loved his country and his duty to make a safe world. Our dad was such a down to earth person and everyone he worked with grew to love his humor and gentle manner.

I walk to honor our dad who was an avid reader, loved crossword puzzles, ran, ate healthy, ensured his family was safe and warm.  He was an intelligent man and intellectual.  I walk because I don’t understand why this disease attacked him or our family.

I walk so Alzheimer’s research can continue to be acknowledged as a tragic disease and want this reality to be shared that this disease is slow decline to anonymity for families and all loved ones.  I walk for the caregivers who feel helpful and helpless at the same time.  I walk for more research development and awareness.

I walk for and with the MORAN CLAN, the ones who loved this great man and who miss him dearly every day.  His birthday is this week, April 23rd and, if not for this horrible disease, I know he would be alive today and continue to be proud of his wife, children, and our continued faith.

With Love and Heartfelt Memories, Erin Moran

Me and Dad
Me and Dad