6 Women, 1 Infant, 2 Dogs and $1,300 in Donations: One Team's Effort in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk
It was a cold Saturday morning, made even more frigid due to a biting wind. Just the perfect day to stay bundled under the covers, but Ann, Mara, Lisa, Sondra and Jan pulled on several layers of clothes to join me in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk. Not everyone knew each other when we first met that morning, but we soon bonded as a team (which we "officially" had been since late September when we began seeking donations). Lisa pushed a stroller with her infant daughter as her husband and other daughter provided moral support. And since dogs were invited to participate, the walk provided some exercise for my dog, Zoe, and Sondra's dog, Zuni.
Each of our team members is very busy with a family, career and lots of interests; however, each decided to carve out a little time in their schedule for the walk. Mara and I participated in the 2007 walk, so we decided that we would sign up again this year (and see if we could get a team together). Sondra participated "to show my concern for the people who are suffering and will suffer from this disease. My $40 donation will not change anything. But add to that thousands of donations and we can make a difference in the research that might lead to prevention or a cure."
Five of the six members on our team have had experience with Alzheimer's. Ann was the lone person whose life hasn't been touched by this disease: "I have never known anyone with Alzheimer's even though all four of my grandparents lived to ripe old ages (85-94)." Mara's mom currently has dementia. Lisa has had relatives and friends who have been affected. And at happy hour the night before the walk, Jan pointed out everyone at the table who had a relative with the disease.
Sondra had several people she was honoring during the walk "I never got to meet Dorian's mother but I walked in her memory," she said. "I also walked in memory and in honor of a man who lived next door to me in Hawaii, Ignacio Segovia. We called him ‘Nace.' When we moved in he was a brilliant, retired anesthesiologist with so many wonderful stories of his life. What a character! How brilliant. Fluent in Spanish, English and many other languages. Within two years he was gone, mentally. A short time later he could no longer live with his beautiful wife. They had to leave Hawaii to go live closer to their children, which otherwise they would not have chosen to do. Fiercely independent and progressive thinkers, both Nace and his wife, Victoria, could have made a big difference in the world, even in their years of retirement. I hope that Victoria is doing just that, but Nace was not given the chance."
Sondra added, "I also walked in honor of my Aunt Billie, who was diagnosed about a year ago and now lives in a special home in San Antonio. I watch as her children deal with this disease that has essentially taken their mother away. Their father died when he was in his mid-40s so none of their children will get to spend the quality time they deserve with their grandparents on that side of the family."
Participating in the walk out some powerful outcomes. Our team raised over $1,300 to fight Alzheimer's. The walk also raised awareness. "It was good to see so many young people, both participants and volunteers, supporting this cause," Ann said. Sondra added, "I learned that together we can make a statement and a difference. I also learned a lot more about the disease from the reading I did leading up to the walk." And the best outcome - we all decided that we'll participate as a team again next year, try to find additional team members, and seek additional donations in order to battle this disease!