Nelson and Charlotte Queen are unfortunately no strangers to Alzheimer’s disease. Surrounded by this “dragon”, their Walk to End Alzheimer’s team “The Queen’s Court” honors many family members on both sides of their family that have passed away fighting this disease. Besides a play on their last name, Nelson explains that this comparison extends further: “We have a large family so, the bigger our court, the more we can do to help.” Both Nelson and Charlotte battled their family’s “dragons” before they connected with the Alzheimer’s Association, but they continue this mission so their 6-year-old granddaughter can grow up in a world vastly different from their own.
Charlotte’s mother Brenda passed away in 2015 from Alzheimer’s disease. She was in healthcare administration her entire life. Brenda was a caregiver for her own mother with Alzheimer’s disease. Brenda’s sister also had Alzheimer’s disease. In comparison, Nelson doesn’t recall any history of dementia in his family prior to his mother’s diagnosis. He was only able to recognize signs because he watched Brenda’s progression. In fact, Brenda was the first person Nelson had ever met with dementia.
Linda Queen, Nelson’s mother, was a teacher’s assistant for Gaston County schools. She was always “the best speller” and a social butterfly. Linda started showing signs of Alzheimer’s in the Spring of 2010, occasionally repeating questions and becoming more withdrawn. These changes of course were only obvious in hindsight. Nelson remarks, “you always lie best when you lie to yourself.” After a surgery in 2012, her symptoms became much more noticeable. “She started not completing sentences… someone would have to help her finish thoughts,” recalls Nelson. The surgery, throwing fuel on this fire, exacerbated symptoms and Linda passed away from a heart attack in 2017. Seeing what Charlotte’s family has been through, Nelson views this heart attack as a “small mercy,” truncating his mom’s progression through such an awful disease.
Nelson attended the 2018 North Wilkesboro Walk to End Alzheimer’s on a whim after seeing billboards about the Walk. He recalls this first Walk experience as a complete game changer. Being in a crowd of people that knew exactly what he and his wife had been through was eye opening, making them both feel less alone. They heard all about what the Association was doing to help families like theirs and they just knew they needed to get involved to fight for a world without Alzheimer’s disease. Nelson fondly remembers his mother as being a big proponent for doing good deeds for others, so he could’t think of a better way to honor his mother than join his local walk planning committee in Iredell County where they live. Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Iredell County, which they are supporting, is taking place across the county on October 10.
Charlotte and Nelson fundraise to support different parts of the Association’s mission. Nelson fundraises for caregiver support, thinking of how difficult caregiving was for his father. He shares that his father pushed the family away while he took on this insurmountable task and consequently his health suffered greatly. Charlotte fundraises to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease due to the prevalence in her family. They both think of their granddaughter and want to make an impact on her future.
Nelson and Charlotte’s “royal court” is fundraising this year even through a pandemic. Their original plan this year was to garner support from local businesses through dedicated nights at restaurants and give-back shopping days. However, as these types of businesses have been impacted greatly this year, the Queen family has pivoted to personal networks to share their story and raise funds. Nelson and Charlotte are hoping that their “Queen’s Court” will be successful in slaying the “dragon” of Alzheimer’s disease once and for all!
LIKE NELSON AND CHARLOTTE 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