It’s a lot easier to say change isn’t easy than it is to experience change yourself. I recently found this out firsthand when I said goodbye to friends, residents and coworkers at Brookdale Hillsborough, where I served as the Clare Bridge program manager for two years. In becoming the new executive director at Brookdale Hamilton, I wouldn’t be far away geographically, but away from the “family” I had grown to love.
Clare Bridge is Brookdale’s individualized and person-centered program designed to meet the specific needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. We celebrated many daily moments of success at Hillsborough, including the success of our Hillsborough Walk Team’s efforts and fundraisers.
Over the past three years, the Hillsborough Walk Team picked up momentum and grew from raising $600 the first year, $1,800 the next year, to $6,000 with matching gifts in 2014.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an energizing event that we all look forward to all year long. It was a chilly day this year, but our hearts were warmed by the incredible crowds and inspirational speeches, as people proudly carried team banners. We were all so honored to be part of this impressive turnout supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. Words cannot express the warm feeling we all shared and carried home in our hearts from hearing the speeches, receiving the flowers, and for sharing such a special day with so many people.
After this year’s Walk, we asked residents, their families and each other for additional fundraising ideas. Boy, did we get some good ones! Our tireless team entertained guests, prepared and served great food, decorated the building and made these events a wonderful time for all. A silent auction was our biggest hit.
The silent auction really was a family affair. Residents, their families and Brookdale associates donated all types of items to be auctioned off. From hand knitted afghans to new appliances and Waterford crystal, the spirit of giving filled the community. It was lots of fun and, at times, seriously competitive. Our assisted living resident Roz and a Clare Bridge resident’s family helped man the silent auction, challenging others to outbid each other, and thus encouraging families to donate more to this great cause.
Between our Walk and our other fundraising events, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride in the Brookdale Hillsborough family. I, like so many others, have had family members who have had Alzheimer’s. I was touched by my grandmother’s experience and by the rough time my fun-loving uncle had with the disease. When I play a tiny part in helping someone live at the highest level they can, I am so touched by the moment, and know I’m getting far more than I give.
Laura Hannigan and her Brookdale team of community associates, residents and resident families exceeded their wildest fundraising dreams for the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.