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The Sacramento Walk to End Alzheimer’s took place on Saturday, October 1 and several SVALA members had the privilege of helping at the registration tables.

2016-cce-joan-and-cma

Meg Wilson and Joan Gabrielson

Joan Gabrielson, Community Connection Event Chair, did a fabulous job coordinating the volunteers and even arranging parking for us. This was our second year working the event and several of the volunteers from last year were back this year. That means we were the seasoned pros!

Joan chose to support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s again this year through our Community Connection Event because it was so rewarding last year and means so much to so many of our members.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a successful annual fundraising event which not only funds research to get rid of this devastating disease but also goes toward “Alzheimer’s care, support, awareness and advocacy.”

A few facts about Alzheimer’s from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website before getting back to our day:

  • It’s the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed;
  • One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia;
  • There are more than 15.9 million caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States;
The "flower girls"

The “flower girls”

It isn’t difficult to figure out why people volunteer for this event. Aside from greeting and registering 2,600 walkers, processing credit card contributions and ringing cowbells for the grand champions, we shared a connection and stories of how Alzheimer’s has wormed its way into our lives.

Just how insidious is this disease? These are just a few of the volunteers impacted by Alzheimer’s:

  • Yvonne and Mark Moore, volunteered as a way to honor Mark’s mom, Betty Moore, who they had cared for before she died.
  • Sue Nielsen volunteered to support her mom who is the caregiver to Sue’s grandmother who is living with dementia and, of course, to also honor her grandmother.
  • Cheri Blethen, SVALA President, and her daughter Meagan, were involved to honor Cheri’s beloved mom (and Meagan’s grandmother) who died from Alzheimer’s.
  • Joan was there to honor her mother, Doris Johnson, who had dementia and her sister-in-law, Barbara Beattie, who is currently living with Alzheimer’s and her brother, Steve Beattie, who is the caregiver for his wife, Barbara.
  • Rachel Hughes and I, along with my husband and brother, were there to remember and honor Rachel’s grandmother and my former mother-in-law, Betty Hughes, who also died from Alzheimer’s.
Richard Kreis, Richard Steed and Rachel Hughes (l-r)

Richard Kreis, Richard Steed and Rachel Hughes (l-r)

We shared stories with one another (such as how Betty, even through the fog of her dementia, frequently asked for her favorite adult beverage (beer) at the memory care unit where she lived).

These are just a few of the people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s. The 2,600 walkers and the other volunteers each have their own story of how this brutal disease has impacted their life.

Event registration started at 8:00 a.m. but the volunteers were at the event getting some pre-event training at 7:00 a.m. As Joan said, “Everyone arrived with smiles!” (Although, I suspect this had something to do with the gallon of coffee most of us were guzzling at this hour.)

The SVALA had 22 volunteers this year which included nine members, ten guests and two Business Partners! We so appreciate Richard Steed of Pacific Records Management and his wife, Lara, for helping again this year and welcomed and appreciated the assistance of Karla Jackson of CMA Insurance Services.

Joan shared that “when registration ended, Tally Kingsnorth, the Sacramento Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer Engagement Manager, stopped by with personal thanks for our time and attention to detail.”

Hey, we’re legal administrators. Attention to detail is our middle name!

Only some of the volunteers!

Only some of the volunteers!

Aside from volunteering at the event, SVALA is also collecting donations to give to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. So far, Joan and the SVALA members have donated $1,500! It isn’t too late to donate so please consider asking your firm for a donation to help end Alzheimer’s.

Please make your donations payable to SVALA and we will present one check to the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Sacramento.

Please mail donations to:

Joan Gabrielson
c/o Cook Brown
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 425
Sacramento, CA  95814

Special thanks to Joan for coordinating this volunteer effort and for getting so many people downtown at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday. Oh! And for the free t-shirt!

Again, many thanks to the SVALA members, their families and friends and our valued Business Partners for your continued support of the Community Connection Events and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Trish Hughes Kreis