Community support needed now more than ever
If you’ve been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll understand. Looking into the eyes of someone you have spent a lifetime with who no longer recognizes you, or worse, themselves, is absolutely devastating. That’s just one example of its effects.
The vision of the Alzheimer’s Association is “a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.” But that vision has been altered by COVID-19, putting fundraising for the organization in jeopardy.
“As an association, we rely heavily on our mass-market events and our ability to bring large groups of people together surrounding this cause,” said Kristin Copenhaver, communications director for the Michigan chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Because we can’t do that this year, we’re seeing a decrease in our teams and participation, which has resulted in a decrease in fundraising. Alzheimer’s isn’t stopping, and neither will we. We’re still walking. We’re still providing free programs and services for Michiganders. Funds are more important than ever. And we need community support.”
For this year’s event, participants can walk anywhere and everywhere.
“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues this year, but instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails across the region,” Copenhaver said.
Dave Bondy was a news reporter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“I had bought a house and planned to live there for the rest of my life,” Bondy said. “The opportunity came to anchor the news and report at FOX 66 WSMH Mid-Michigan NOW, and I reached out to see if I could get closer to home. Anchor Bill Harris connected me with management, who in turn helped land me a job back home closer to my mom.
The popular television journalist now uses his social media as a platform to shine a light on Alzheimer’s. With nearly 50,000 Facebook fans, Bondy shares his mother’s struggle with the disease.
“After watching my mother suffer through Alzheimer’s, I quickly realized that I wanted to help the Alzheimer’s Association help others when it comes to support, but also help to fight the disease and work to raise money to find a cure,” Bondy said. “Every single one of us could be impacted by Alzheimer’s at some point in our lives. I have seen firsthand how the disease takes away a person’s memories, their happiness, their sense of normalcy. By reaching out to the community and telling my story, I hope will help lift others to help beat this disease.”
Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus due to COVID-19. Support is needed more than ever.
“We must continue the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and we are working with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together,” Copenhaver said.
Walks in the Great Lakes Bay Region include events for Saginaw on Sept. 12, Bay City on Sept. 19 and Midland on Sept. 27. For information or to register, visit alz.org/walk.