“Walk isn’t just an event, it’s a movement,” shares Kevin McRae of Asheville, North Carolina. “When I heard someone use that phrase during one of our recent Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee meetings, it really struck a chord with me.” Kevin’s father Harold ‘Corky’ McRae sadly succumbed to the disease in 2017, and their family consequently created a Walk team shortly thereafter in his memory.
Corky was a cowboy at heart. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he loved horses and animals of all kinds and bought his first horse when he was just a teenager. Owning horses and animals throughout most of his adult life was not only Corky’s passion but played an integral part of his identity. His long life of civil duty began with his two-year service in the US Army, followed by 27 years in the Detroit Police Department where he worked in several different aspects of the job, his favorite spent on the special task force known as MINT (Michigan Intelligence Network Team). Upon retiring from the Detroit Police Department, Corky continued his career as Chief of Police in Linden, Michigan. He loved the quieter pace of life in Linden and small-town charm. The Michigan winters, however, began to get too cold for him. Since three of his five children were living in Florida, he retired from law enforcement in 1986 and moved south to the Sunshine State.
“Dad moved in with us in December 2013,” offers Kevin. “My wife was eight months pregnant at the time. He had a fall three days after our son was born and scraped his arm pretty badly. I took him to the doctor to have him checked out. When we returned home, he couldn’t remember my wife’s name, and I immediately knew something was not right.”
Unfortunately, Kevin and his family were not familiar with the variety of resources that the Alzheimer’s Association had available when they were caring for his father. “Caring for Dad was not easy,” adds Kevin. “In fact, it has been the hardest thing that I have ever done.” Through the formation and involvement of Walk team Code 30 in Corky’s memory, Kevin has learned first-hand the variety of valuable resources that the Association offers. “My involvement with the mission component of the Alzheimer’s Association motivates me to share that message within our community.” Kevin welcomes the opportunity to serve as ambassador, his overall objective is garnering additional public awareness of the Alzheimer’s Association and how it can others not feel like they are facing the challenges alone.
The special meaning behind their team name Code 30 is that during Corky’s time spent undercover in the police department, a Code 30 meant his was taking a break. When he retired and moved to Florida, the family fondly referred to his ranch of horses and assorted animals as ‘Code 30.’ Additionally, the team members wear purple and cowboy hats to commemorate the patriarch of their family.
“We are being much more targeted with our fundraising efforts this year,” adds Kevin. “We are reaching out to those entities that have not been as negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic such as grocery stores and real estate companies.” While Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Asheville will look a little different this year, Kevin’s friends and family are grateful for the opportunity to still be able to walk together in their own neighborhoods on October 10 and celebrate Corky. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is compelling way in which those living with the disease and their family members/caregivers can gather in solidarity to not only raise funds but also demonstrate the inclusiveness that the Association represents. Very much like Corky. He treated each person he met with the utmost respect and love. He never met a stranger, and welcomed everyone into his life and home with love.
LIKE KEVIN WE ALL HAVE A REASON FOR WE ARE FIGHTING FOR A WORLD WITHOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Start your own team or join an existing team for one of our nineteen North Carolina Walk to End Alzheimer’s events:
The world may look a little different right now, but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to ending Alzheimer’s. This year, Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is everywhere — on every sidewalk, track and trail. Your health and safety are our top priorities. We won’t have a large in-person gathering — instead, we invite you to walk in small teams of friends and family while others in your community do the same. Because we are all still walking and fundraising for the same thing: a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
When you participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, you’re part of a community that cares — and that community, which starts in your backyard and stretches across the country, has never needed us more. With the dollars we raise, the Alzheimer’s Association® can provide care and support during these uncertain times while advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.
Register today at alz.org/walk and join the movement.
2020 WALK DATES
Alamance County – 9.26.20
Asheville – 10.10.20
Charlotte – 10.17.20
Fayetteville – 10.31.20
Gaston/Cleveland/Lincoln – 9.12.20
Guilford County – 10.17.20
Henderson County – 9.26.20
Hickory – 10.24.20
Iredell County – 10.10.20
Jacksonville – 10.17.20
Moore County – 9.26.20
Mount Airy – 9.12.20
New Bern – 10.25.20
North Wilkesboro – 10.10.20
Robeson County – 10.24.20
Rowan-Cabarrus – 10.24.20
Triangle (Raleigh-Durham) – 10.10.20
Wilmington – 11.7.20
Winston-Salem – 10.3.20