We are endlessly grateful to our volunteers for giving their time to better the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Our volunteers are truly the heart of the Alzheimer’s Association here in North Carolina.
In honor of National Volunteer Week 2020, we’ll be spotlighting a different volunteer from our Chapter each day. Today we are featuring…
What brought you to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association?
Well because my loving, smart, active, healthy and talented husband got this dreaded brain disease I had to get involved. If he could get this disease and he never smoked, loved me and our children, healthy, then something is not right! My husband worked and saved all his life, and when we planned on starting to retire and really enjoy what we had worked so hard for all these years, he gets this, something is not right! He took care of his mom and dad. We built an extension on our house to accommodate them in their late years, he was always caring about them, and he can’t enjoy his late years, something is not right! I have to fight to try and ‘fix’ it! I am trying to turn my broken heart into action. I am trying to be an advocate to change the way people view a person with this brain disease as well as the not let John’s experience with this disease be in vain! I want his story to be the push for more research, more monies, more public resources and more community support for those living with this brain disease!
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
I am the AIM Advocacy Chair for Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Moore County. Which means my goal is to recruit other Alzheimer’s Impact Movement members in Moore County throughout Walk. I got involved last year and attended the AIM Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC along with about 1,200 other advocate from across the country. It was a fabulous meeting of so many people concerned about ‘fixing’ Alzheimer’s and dementia. I learned so much about how to interact with members of Congress and push for the monies and policies needed to help those with and care for those with dementia.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
My role is very personal. I want to engage our community in discussion and to explain John’s story with this disease. The Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act would have allowed my husband, John, to have more treatments and awareness from the medical community and more access to support programs in the beginning of his disease. I am fighting to ‘fix’ and improve the quality of life for all people living with this disease, dementia.
What piece of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
Well, last year being at the Capitol with the energetic group of other advocates meeting with various members of Congress and telling them John’s story; then telling them how they can help was very empowering! I had a picture of John and me and our children. I think that made it seem a lot more real for them to see what we went through. Explaining what the numbers are: as the 6th leading cause of death in the US; more than 5 million are living with the disease projected to be 14 million by 2050!
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
I would tell them our story. Our story of how it affected John a younger-onset person who was an otherwise healthy person. I would tell them about how statistics say 1-3 seniors/younger persons will die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and how deaths from this disease have increased 146%. I am doing this for John but also for my children/grandchildren and all those that may be inheriting this disease as well!
THANK YOU, MARGE
Volunteers truly help move our mission forward. Interested in becoming a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association in NC?
Visit alz.org/get-involved-now/volunteer or call 800-272-3900.