I am new to the Alzheimer’s Services team and had the opportunity to work my first “Walk to Remember” on October 20. I have participated in the Walk for many years since 1999 in honor of my grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s. However, I never realized how much work went into it now that I am “behind the scenes”. Being here has given me an entirely new perspective and coordinating the event next year will be one of my biggest responsibilities.
I was amazed at the amount of support Alzheimer’s Services receives and how so many people are touched by this disease. It was obvious not only by the 8,000+ participants, nearly $300,000 in funds raised and numerous corporate partners and sponsors, but also by the poignant stories I have heard from so many people. Paul and Michele Gates are fighting this battle together, and their role as honorary chairs raised such awareness and inspiration. Nikki Caldwell brought her entire LSU Women’s Basketball Team and spoke of her multiple connections to the disease. Charlie Valluzzo makes this entire event possible year after year along with so many other community leaders and contributors. The Bourgeois family blew me away with their passion, presence, and commitment. Finally, I must mention the dedicated committee members and hundreds of volunteers who provide immeasurable assistance in making the Walk such a success.
Everyone I have met is incredibly motivated to do whatever it takes and our Director, Barbara Auten, is extremely mission-focused with regards to improving the quality of life for so many. I am proud to be a part of such a meaningful organization that is working to provide compassion, education, and enrichment to families and their loved ones who battle the challenges of Alzheimer’s. Many thanks to my co-workers who have welcomed me, answered countless questions and made time to share a bit of their world with me!
I look forward to what this next year will bring! Hopefully we will be blessed with another glorious day for the Walk on October, 19, 2013!!
Jeri McCullough, Walk/Run to Remember Coordinator