Oct 182017
 

This is great what you’re doing.

My dad had Alzheimer’s. He passed just over a year ago, finally free. I miss him, but all the good memories mean he lives on.

Thank you so much for raising awareness.

***

That’s just a tiny snapshot of the tremendous reaction Teryn Schaefer received – and continues to – for wearing a simple, purple wristband.

“They all knew somebody, either directly or indirectly, who had been affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia,” Teryn says. “I don’t know how to explain the feeling of having so many people respond so genuinely. I personally don’t know many other people who’ve been affected the way I’ve been, so it was almost alarming to see how big the community of those touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia really is.”

As an on-camera host for the PGA TOUR, along with her regular presence on the grounds of TOUR events, Teryn is using her platform to create awareness and do her part to assist in the pursuit to end Alzheimer’s. On her Twitter and Instagram channels – with more than 10,000 followers – Teryn on September 18 posted:

Today I’m wearing the @alzassociation purple band in honor of my grandfather on my show #TrendingOnTOUR. Please join us in helping us bring awareness and defeat this disease, together we can find a cure.

She’s kept that purple band on ever since, including during the week-long, season-ending TOUR Championship in Atlanta this September.

“People are cured of cancer every day because of the awareness that’s been in place for quite some time, and it’s awesome,” Teryn says. “I’ll do anything I can to help bring Alzheimer’s into that light. A diagnosis of any disease is devastating, but I don’t think people ultimately realize how difficult it is to deal with Alzheimer’s and how hard it is on the families.”

Teryn lost her beloved maternal grandfather – Frank Miller – to Alzheimer’s in 2016 at the age of 81, some 10 years after his diagnosis. She cherishes special memories sprinkled throughout her childhood, so much of it spent with her grandpa. A retired special education and elementary school teacher, Frank and his granddaughter were nearly inseparable during Teryn’s youth.

“He was a huge part of my life,” Teryn says. “We would go to the zoo and the art museum, and he always had projects to do with me around the house – any number of outdoor activities from gardening to helping him mow the grass. He thought it was good for us kids to get in some hard work. We were very close.”

In the early 2000s, Teryn’s grandmother began to notice symptoms of forgetfulness in her husband Frank. An avid reader and learner, Frank found himself having to re-read paragraphs from the page of a book he’d just read, and the word and number puzzles he’d once been a whiz at became more and more challenging to conquer.

Frank’s mother died from complications of Alzheimer’s, “so he knew all too well the symptoms of dementia,” Teryn says. “He knew before his diagnosis, he understood.”

Teryn – who grew up in the small town of Waterloo – says her hometown’s proximity to St. Louis was fortuitous, for shortly after her grandfather’s diagnosis, doctors at St. Louis University conducted a research study with people living with dementia – and Frank was a willing participant.

“He said from the start,” Teryn recalls, “’Whatever we can do to help with the research and in some way make a difference with this disease, we’ll do.’”

When Teryn graduated from the University of Missouri – one of the country’s most prestigious journalism and broadcast media schools – Frank was able to attend and see Teryn receive her diploma, though he’d long since been able to recognize her by name.

“My grandfather was basically not himself for the last 10 years of his life, and that’s a really long time for someone to not even know who they are,” Teryn says.

Unable to “process my grandfather’s death and figure out a way I can honor him,” Teryn and the Alzheimer’s Association recently connected. Suddenly, the blurry picture of how she planned to support the fight to end Alzheimer’s came into greater focus.

“It was something I needed,” she says. “I needed someone to help me get a jumpstart into figuring out how I can make a difference.”

Teryn plans to participate in Walk to End Alzheimer’s in November in her adopted hometown of Jacksonville, Florida – and, of course, continue to showcase the purple band on her left wrist.

“For all those who fight Alzheimer’s and other dementias – and for those who have been affected by it – I raise awareness. I want all of us to remember our loved ones as the people they were for the majority of their lives, and to preserve those memories as best we can.”

About Teryn: A rising star on the sports-media scene, Teryn Schaefer hosts several shows for the PGA TOUR, including The Takeaway and Trending on TOUR, and is a contributor and host on PGA TOUR LIVE.

Oct 212016
 

I was 15 years old when I found out my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I had heard of it. I knew about it from friends who had grandparents who suffered through it (and I’d seen The Notebook a million times), but nothing can ever prepare you for what comes after the diagnosis.01_katie-blog

I tried to convince myself over and over that she would suffer less because there would come a point that she would no longer know that she was sick. But I didn’t realize that she would always suffer. She would suffer in the confusion of not knowing who she was around. She would suffer in the times where she would no longer know how to feed herself, bathe herself, or even walk by herself.  And as her family, we would suffer watching the matriarch of our family, someone who was always so strong and who took care of everyone, fade before our eyes.

My grandmother gave Alzheimer’s quite the fight. She never let it dim her light. No matter how bad the day was, she always found a way to smile, and made the rest of us smile around her. However it was always difficult. I moved away to California to pursue my dreams at 17, which is what she wanted for me, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I wouldn’t be there for her as she progressed in the disease. I called her every day, FaceTimed with her and came home as often as I could. The heartbreak set in every time I left home, because I never knew if that was the last time I would see her again. And every time I said “I love you” to her in the last few years, my mom would have to tell her to, “Say I love you, too.”

The last time I saw my grandmother was during Christmas break of 2014. I don’t know why, but I had an overwhelming feeling that that would be the last time. I went up to her room where she sat in her chair most of the time, and I knelt beside her and held onto her hands. I knew at this point the disease had taken hold of her so much that I could literally say anything to her and it wouldn’t confuse her or necessarily register. So I sat there and said my final goodbye.

I thanked her for shaping me into the woman I am today, for her never-ending love, for her support, and I told her she would always be my angel. I looked at her and said, “I love you Vovo.”  She smiled at me, and without anyone telling her to, and without hesitation she said, “I love you, too.” In that moment I knew I had to let her go, and I promised her that I would do all that I could to find a cure.02_katie-blog

I lost my grandmother, my best friend, on April 2, 2015. Alzheimer’s may have taken her mind and her strength, but it could never take away her love, her kindness and her beautiful heart. Life is about creating ever-lasting memories, and my wish for the world is that we all are able to remember those memories when it’s our time to leave this earth. I will spend the rest of my life trying to help find a cure.

 

About the Author: Katie Stevens is an actress and singer best known for starring in MTV’s scripted series “Faking It.” She is an Alzheimer’s Association celebrity champion, working to raise awareness for the cause in honor of her grandmother who she lost to the disease. Katie also serves on the Hilarity for Charity committee. 

Coming Soon: Read Katie’s mom’s piece, Remembering Mom: A Daughter’s Story.

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Jun 272016
 

“How many of you, either directly or indirectly, have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease?”

This is the question I ask my colleagues every year at our kick-off meeting for Forget Me Not Days (FMND), the national Bankers Life fundraising campaign to support the Alzheimer’s Association. Every year, more people raise their hands.

For the past 14 years, Bankers Life has supported the Alzheimer’s Association through fundraising and advocating for early detection, which can help individuals and families affected by the disease prepare financially; this year the event was held on June 3 and 4, 2016.

Blog_Photo 1During FMND, Bankers Life employees go out into their communities to collect donations for local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, handing out packets of Forget-Me-Not flower seeds and asking that they be planted in honor of the more than 5 million people currently living with Alzheimer’s.

When I began supporting FMND in 2004, people were only vaguely familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, its symptoms, or its impact.

Today, awareness of the disease is greater than what it was ten years ago. I’m moved when I see the immense passion our employees put behind this effort and how the community is always looking for more ways to support research and education. Unfortunately, each year of this campaign, we encounter more people from all walks of life who have a personal connection to the disease and the devastation it causes.

My grandfather was treated for a form of dementia when I was in my early 20s. We didn’t know about Alzheimer’s at the time, but I suspect he had it. I can recall the mental, emotional and financial toll this disease had on my family, especially my devoted and caring parents. I vividly remember my parents lovingly and selflessly taking care of my grandfather, but being caught off guard by the cost.Blog_Photo 2

That is why Forget Me Not Days is more than just a few days of fundraising.

It’s a reminder of how important it is to make sure communities across the U.S. are educated about Alzheimer’s disease, aware of early detection methods and informed about the benefits of planning ahead for long-term care. It’s not a comfortable conversation to have, but it is one that can make such an enormous difference later on when dealing with the high costs of in-home care, medication and home safety modifications.

I’m proud of my more than 13 years of support for the Alzheimer’s Association and am committed to expanding our efforts, growing awareness and removing the stigma surrounding  Alzheimer’s. My hope is for a future without the disease. Until then, I will continue to do my part to help lessen the burden for my community.

Blog_Photo 3About the Author: Keith Lozowski serves as the Regional Director for the Florida Region of Bankers Life. His region consists of the offices in Jacksonville, Daytona, Tampa, Clearwater, Orlando, Gainesville, West Palm Beach and Miami, as well as satellite offices in Fleming Island, Orange City, Lakeland, St. Petersburg, Spring Hill, Tallahassee, Wesley Chapel, North Miami and Brunswick, Georgia. In addition, he serves as Branch Manager at the Jacksonville branch. Lozowski has been with Bankers Life for over 18 years.

 

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Jun 032016
 

TRUTH: Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss.


It is common knowledge that Alzheimer’s robs people of their ability to remember, but other truths about the disease remain unknown. This June, we are debunking harmful misconceptions that keep people from seeking a diagnosis and that reduce access to needed resources and support services. Uncover the truths and take action to help end this disease.

Julia Balson, a slight, red-haired woman with a big smile, English accent and twinkling eyes, now knows that Alzheimer’s disease affects 47 million people worldwide, a growing percentage of which are younger than the age of 65 . She knows this ugly statistic because her beloved husband, Mike was diagnosed at age 58. “But isn’t Alzheimer’s an “older person’s” disease,” I ask her? I know this is what a lot of people think, so I put the question out there. She sighs heavily and tries to steady her vital, yet sad voice, “Unfortunately not,” she finally says.mikejuliebalson

Mike and Julia Balson, along with thousands of others living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease need the world to know that while theirs is a true and lasting love story, the reality of Alzheimer’s isn’t what’s depicted in The Notebook. This disease doesn’t just affect “old people” or the ability to remember at the end of one’s life.

Married for more than 47 years, the Balsons are world travelers who have adapted to many global cultures during their life together. Like many couples, they’ve had children, challenges, joys and regrets. But one thing they never planned for, or ever thought about, was the possibility of Alzheimer’s wreaking havoc on their family.

Mike was a strong, elite athlete who played professional soccer on the international circuit for more than a decade. He played on big teams in the U.K. and, at one point in his playing career, moved his family to South Africa to join a professional team there. The family had to eventually leave due to the overwhelming violence from the Apartheid riots in the area. So, Mike and Julia, no strangers to adversity, felt they could take on any problem that came their way. When Mike started showing signs of mental “fogginess,” they both dismissed it (or denied it, as Julia tells me later) until the symptoms became so apparent one day when Mike filed his paycheck in one of Julia’s cookbooks.

Despite such a difficult diagnosis, they both maintain sunny dispositions and a strong desire to help others in similar situations. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Julia and Mike about their journey with Mike’s diagnosis. Both of them were quick to offer advice about love, acceptance and living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tell me a little bit about being married for 47 years. How has your partnership helped you face such a devastating disease?
Julia: Big factors for us are hard work, accepting the ups and downs, our faith in God, and our hope for advances in research. I think it’s also important to love and respect each other and try to ignore each other’s faults. No one is perfect! We look for ways to serve each other, and put each other’s needs above our own. We definitely try to encourage each other; and we make it a point to laugh a lot. Now we hold the motto that unless a situation is life and death at the moment, we don’t worry about it.
Mike: Never give up; it’s so easy to give up when you’re faced with this kind of situation but you just can’t.

Julia, when did you first realize there was something “off” with Mike? How did you respond to this?
Julia: Two things stand out. I found a paycheck in a cookbook. This was odd because Mike had always been so on-top of everything. Also, his driving abilities seemed to be declining. Honestly, I panicked at first and then I was definitely in denial. We ended up getting help through the Alzheimer’s Association much later on; looking back, we should’ve reached out earlier, but I was scared and felt helpless and isolated.

Mike, what about you? When did you first start noticing things? What did you notice?
Mike: Things just weren’t right, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what wasn’t right. And, I don’t think I could accept it. I kept asking for directions to go to work), and it once took 20 minutes to do a bank deposit which was unusual because I always had a keen mind.

What did you do when you noticed these behaviors? Can you take us through the time you began to notice problems, through getting the diagnosis?
Julia: We didn’t do anything at first. Eventually, we realized we needed to get help because Mike was struggling with day-to-day tasks. Initially, Mike was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). We later got the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

What has been the biggest change to your relationship since the diagnosis? What do you find to be the biggest issues you have to tackle on a daily basis?
Julia: I’d say our biggest change has been the role reversal, because I now have to take care of everything that Mike used to do, like all the driving, the financing and household stuff. I also have to help Mike choose clothes (he would sometimes dress awkwardly with clothes in the wrong order, or not seasonally appropriate), make sure he takes his medications properly and make sure he is bathing correctly. I know it upsets Mike that he isn’t able to take care of me like he used to, but I am a pretty strong person and can take care of myself, so I don’t mind that as much.
Mike: The lack of driving ability is upsetting and it’s a struggle to remember day-to-day details. It is also upsetting that I can’t take care of Julia like I used to. I have a problem remembering to eat – Julia will leave food prepared for me and I’ll forget about it completely. Also, I’m trying to work on interacting with others.

What helpful adjustments have you made that you can share with other couples living with Alzheimer’s?
Julia: A key thing for us is to write everything down – appointments, instructions, reminders, etc. Writing everything down really helps Mike remember to do things. When I was in denial, I didn’t write everything down and that would get frustrating for both of us. Now we keep a calendar on hand with everything written down. I also joined an Alzheimer’s Association support group; I’ve found that spending time with others on the same journey is a great comfort. I take Mike to the Memories in the Making art classes; it’s something he’d never done before but really now enjoys. Another big thing was to accept the changes, to recognize that there is life after the diagnosis even though it’s never going to be the same as it was.

Working with the Alzheimer’s Association, what do you regard to be the most beneficial support services they provide? What would you suggest to a couple who is just receiving a diagnosis?
Mike: Their monthly couples support group has been our biggest lifeline. When all this started, Julia was constantly stressed and ill from trying to handle everything on her own.
Julia: There is a church service the first Wednesday of every month that has been very important and beneficial for us. To anyone who is just receiving a diagnosis – don’t panic. There are so many resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. They can get help by joining a support group; the staff are kind and wonderful, and no one should go through it alone. Also, remember that there is life after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis – it’s different, but there is life.

If you could tell people one thing about life after diagnosis, what would it be?
Julia: You should appreciate every day that you have together as a blessing from God and take life one day at a time. No matter how much you love each other – or the person you are caring for – you still get frustrated sometimes. Take time to sit and say “let’s regroup” when you are frustrated or upset with each other.
Mike: I would say to remember that caregivers must take time for themselves because life as a caregiver can get challenging and overwhelming.

The Balsons hope that sharing their story will encourage others who may be dealing with similar struggles and fears. Though Alzheimer’s is more than just losing memories, Mike and Julia will be the first to remind you that it doesn’t have to mean losing love.

Mike and Julia will be going purple this month in honor of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. You can join them and learn more by visiting alz.org/June.

Author: Abby Nehring

This post originally appeared on https://alzcnfl.wordpress.com/

Jun 232015
 

I am sitting at a dinner party in Deauville, France, listening to my grandfather recount stories I’ve heard him tell a thousand times before; times spent with Peter O’Toole in the desert, his love affair with Barbra Streisand and with other leading ladies, past exploits at card tables and racetracks.omar1

But this night is different. The stories are off; rich details normally embedded like fine jewels are missing. The characters are colorless and the anecdotes lack grounding in space and time – they just seem to float out of place and order. Attempts at humor have been replaced by an obvious air of anxiety and frustration brought on by his trying to remember.

He’s just tired, I think to myself. He’s been traveling too much. Pay it no mind.

But then he starts the stories over again, seemingly unaware that he’s just finished recounting them.

Something is wrong.

This was my first indication that my grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease, and in the subsequent years, many clues would follow.

omar2It’s the quintessential irony — creating a life filled with cherished memories and relationships only to lose them.

A World Champion bridge player, an Academy Award nominated actor, a man proficient in seven languages with a higher IQ than anyone I’ll likely ever meet…Alzheimer’s does not discriminate in its victims.

It has been a slow and steady decline made all the more apparent by a lack of effective treatment or a cure.

So we must unite.

Throughout the month of June, join me in taking the pledge to “Go Purple” for Alzheimer’s awareness and let’s find purplepledgeomara cure together.

Alzheimer’s is a thief — stealing brilliant minds. This disease must be stopped.

 

About the Author: Omar Sharif, Jr. is an Egyptian actor and spokesperson. An advocate for equal human rights, he is the grandson of legendary Hollywood actor Omar Sharif.

Jun 212015
 

“There is hope in the future and beauty in the moment.”

The Longest Day has afforded us the promise of this statement.

When my incredible husband Steve was diagnosed nearly four years ago with younger-onset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer’s, we knew we needed guidance. The Alzheimer’s Association has provided us with that and more.

The Longest Day gave us an opportunity to take an active role. It also provided us with a chance to have friends and family gather and rally around Steve to let him know how loved and supported he is. We honor him by hosting a day filled with some of his favorite activities, and our grandchildren are empowered as they use their small but poignant voices to honor their Gramps and raise awareness. They have even coined the phrase “When life gives you JUDYTEAMAlzheimer’s…make lemonade!” Selling lemonade is only one of today’s activities.

lemonadeWe have run, walked, biked, swam, played horseshoes and danced Zumba. We have spiffed up the exterior of our old beach house, done puzzles and sang. We have shared old memories and created new ones. We have laughed and cried. We have honored those living with Alzheimer’s and memorialized those whom we have loved and lost. This is our day to celebrate life with Steve, and assure ourselves of what can’t be taken from us with this disease—love!SteveTLD

As the sun sets, a soft glow of purple washes across the faces of the nearly 50 people in our beach circle. We take time to reflect on what we have accomplished, and we ceremoniously offer an intention of hope and honor. Each of us ignites our individual light in the sand and then we join them together. As each is lit, we watch the dim light of a single candle grow from a faint glow to a radiant brightness. It’s then that we realize that there is hope in the future glowand beauty in this very moment.

It’s now time for contemplation of what has been achieved today, The Longest Day.

We have raised substantial funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, which has not only been an incredible wealth of resources for us on this journey, but also the force behind making global strides in research, care and education.

We have exhausted our muscles from our various activities. Our faces are sore from the shared smiles. Our arms and shoulders carry the weight of both giving and receiving numerous “strength-giving” hugs.

Our lungs are contented by being filled with fresh sea air. Our hearts are warmed and overflowing with the love and support of our family, friends and neighbors. As a group, we have turned Wells Beach purple to raise awareness. We have fought hard for future generations to realize a time when Alzheimer’s disease is just a memory. We have witnessed the true power of a community effort.endalz15 (1)

Thank you to all who are fighting this good fight! And to those who will face another “longest day” tomorrow…we do this for you.

About the Author: Judy Johanson is care partner for her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 59. Together with her family and friends, Judy is participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day®, a sunrise-to-sunset event on June 21, 2015, to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. 

 

Jun 212015
 

June 21 is my mom’s 80th birthday, but she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t know what day it is anymore. She doesn’t even know what a birthday is. My mom has late-stage Alzheimer’s.

Today, on her birthday, I am climbing a mountain in her honor by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual event The Longest Day. Along with 10 friends, I’m climbing Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., to raise money so that the Association can continue to provide support for people living with this disease. The climb will take 16-17 hours to complete and is certainly the longest hike I have ever undertaken. Every step is for Mom.JOHNBTLD

We started this hike in the darkness at 3 a.m. and we are still on our way to the top. As I take each step up this incredible 14,500-foot mountain, I am remembering all of the steps it took to get to this moment: all the training hikes and gym workouts, all the fundraising, and all of the long, seemingly impossible days of my mother’s disease.  All along the way, The Alzheimer’s Association was an invaluable resource for advice, referrals and strategies for handling my mom’s illness and decline.
JOHNTLDMy mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis was devastating news for the whole family, but especially devastating for her. She always loved learning, reading and discussing current events. The first in her family to go to a four-year college, she worked for Planned Parenthood and as a lobbyist for the Oregon Legislature. The last job she held was as an editor for a bilingual newspaper. At the same time, she was studying to become an ESL teacher.

johnmomThen she started forgetting things; appointments, bills, daily tasks. She lost her purse over and over again. She couldn’t read books anymore, since by the time she would get to the end, she had already forgotten the beginning.

She ended up losing her job due to her frequent mistakes. She lost friends because she would forget to call. She forgot to pay her taxes and her rent. She was ashamed of her symptoms, and became really good at hiding them by writing everything down in a notebook and carrying it with her everywhere. But then she started losing the notebook, too.

Mom forgot the day, the month and the year. She even started imagining she was living in the past. Eventually she forgot her own name and her family, including me.johnfriends

Every step of the way, The Alzheimer’s Association was there with the advice and resources I needed. Now I am seeking to give back so that others facing this awful disease can be supported. I’m climbing because it’s my mom’s birthday, and because I can’t celebrate with her anymore. Participating in The Longest Day seems a fitting tribute to her 80 years of life.  My team and I have raised over $15,000 and know that it will help a lot of people dealing with this disease.JohnGroupTLD

It feels empowering to be able to give back and to honor my mom in this way on her birthday, The Longest Day.

About the Author: John Binninger and his friends that make up The Whitney Summiters are participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day®. Click here to visit John’s team page.

Jun 212015
 

Good morning! Today is an important and exciting day in the making. This morning, members of the San Diego Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) chapter are joining members of the San Diego Bridge Academy and Redwood Bridge Club in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) leads the fundraising to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association on The Longest Day, along with raffles, a fine art silent auction and an appearance by Chopper the Biker Dog!

Forget what you may think about people who ride motorcycles or people who play bridge. Not only are many of the stereotypes untrue, but Harley riders are just as active in their communities and willing to step up and make their voices heard as the bridge players are. Together this diverse group of backgrounds will ride across the 30+ bridges of San Diego and play bridge from sunrise to sunset.

Alzheimer’s affects more than 60,000 people in the San Diego area, and with the average age of an ACBL bridge player being 69, those in our community are susceptible. We are speaking with local television stations first, and after that, we will be making a stop at the local Harley dealership to bring together a unique group of Harley riders and bridges players so that our voices can be heard together.trishwhite

I myself have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s disease. When I was diagnosed with a plaque on my brain in 2010, I knew I had to stand up. I spent very little time feeling sorry for myself, and told myself that I couldn’t give up. I could lose my limbs and live without them, but my brain? Not my brain. My brain is my best friend.

Bridge is known as “aerobics for the mind.” I also have focused on mentally-stimulating games such as Scrabble and crossword puzzles. I stay social in order to keep myself sharp. I do whatever I can, as I always have in life, because sitting down solves nothing. It’s time to stand up!

There was a day recently when I wasn’t feeling up to going to my evening bridge game, but something inside me told me to go anyway. I ended up meeting a woman whose husband was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They have only been married for five years. It was so important for her to see the information available and have someone to talk to and discuss caregiver issues with. I hope that today’s event will create progressive thinking in the world of bridge. Alzheimer’s creates a devastation of families; everyone in the family unit “gets” Alzheimer’s. Our voices are more powerful together, and we know we will be heard today.

I thank Robin Parker of the San Diego H.O.G. chapter who helped Harley riders set a goal of $1,600 on top of the bridge clubs’ goal of $2,500. I thank Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL.  I thank David Walters, the best bridge teacher imaginable, for lecturing today – half of the proceeds of his speech will go towards the cause. I thank Stuart Showalter, president of the Redwood Bridge club. And I thank all of the people who have made a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

About the Author: Trish White is an avid bridge player participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day®. 

 

 

Sep 182014
 

Everyone has a reason to end Alzheimer’s, including four-year-old Lilly Myers of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Her great-grandmother or “Nanny,” Patty Lewis, 82, is one of the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease.blog42

To honor Nanny, Lilly is participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® — the world’s largest event to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease — in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. But the preschooler isn’t just walking; she’s the top fundraiser for the 80-plus-person Nanny’s Team, made up of Lewis’s family and friends.

In 2013, the inaugural season for Nanny’s Team, the then-three-year-old Lilly raised $250. “She would get excited each time we logged in [to her online participant center] and the status bar denoting her level of money had been colored in more,” said Lilly’s mother, Amy Myers.

Lilly went door to door asking for donations. Her solicitation was simple: “My name is Lilly and I am doing a charity walk for Alzheimer’s, would you like to sponsor me?”

This year, Lilly has raised more than $2,900 and set a goal of receiving a donation from every state. As the funds came in from around the country, she colored in the corresponding states on a United States map. On Aug. 16, Lilly excitedly shaded in her last state, Vermont. She also listed her international donations — those from Canada, Germany and Australia — on the side of her map.blog4

“When asked what the money is for, Lilly will tell you that it’s for people who are sick with Alzheimer’s disease. She will tell you that sometimes Nanny forgets her name or that she already gave her hugs and kisses, but she knows that Nanny never forgets that she loves her,” Myers said. “As Nanny slips away from us, it’s heartwarming to know that Lilly is old enough that she’ll always have a memory of her time with Nanny.”

To supplement their fundraising efforts, Lilly and her cousins held a lemonade stand at festivals and farmers markets in their community. The children split more than $1,000 in proceeds, each applying a share to their individual fundraising total.

At $30,000 and counting, Nanny’s Team is the top fundraising team for the Carmichaels Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which took place on Sept. 6. All funds will help advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Each year, with the help of more than 400,000 participants at events in over 600 communities nationwide, the Association moves closer to realizing its vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

 

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease or to get involved with the cause, visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

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Sep 112014
 

MVShowTelevision talk show host and journalist Meredith Vieira launched “The Meredith Vieira Show” earlier this month. On the second episode of her nationally syndicated daytime show, Meredith committed to bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and the cause by welcoming actor Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller. They spoke about how the Alzheimer’s diagnosis of Lauren’s mom affected their lives and how they have created awareness for the cause through their fundraising event Hilarity for Charity. Other notable guests were Ken Dobson and his wife Nikki, who explained how the diagnosis of Ken’s early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 29 has affected their lives. In addition, there was a huge surprise at the end of the show. Watch the videos to hear the stories and to see the surprise ending of the episode that even Meredith didn’t know about!

 

Watch Lauren Miller and husband Seth Rogen talk about how Lauren’s mother’s Alzheimer’s affected their relationship in the video below.

Lauren Miller talks about how her wedding day three years ago was the last time she really connected with her mom:

Ken and Nikki Dodson of Adrian, Michigan talk about Ken’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis at age 29 in the video below.

Watch the generous surprise for Meredith, a donation made to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of her late brother Steve:

 

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and also to those who participated in this important TV episode to raise awareness of the disease.

You can make a difference, too. Donate to the Alzheimer’s Association or raise funds by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is happening in more than 600 communities nationwide this fall.

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