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 2021, 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?
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 63. This was 25 years ago. When the doctor gave the family the diagnosis, we had never heard of Alzheimer’s. I sat there like a deer in the headlights and listened that my mother’s life as I knew it had ended and that she would die from this disease. In my research, I found out that the Alzheimer’s Association was having an event the next weekend. I attended and found answers to my questions and, more importantly, found our family was not alone.
After years of caregiving, my father passed away suddenly; then, my mother came under my care for the remainder of her life. I worked full time, so I used day center and in-home care to help to support my mother and me. I had the financial means to pay for these services out of pocket, but this was never planned; it depleted savings for my retirement.
After watching and supporting many friends and family walk through this journey, I know there is a great need for family support. With bills HR 1474 and S56 the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act will help families make it through the hardest time in their life. I am very proud that my congressional representative, Rep. Deborah Ross NC 02, is a co-sponsor of HR1474.
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
Eastern NC Walk Volunteer, Eastern NC Volunteer Coordinator, former Western NC Board Member, State Advocate, Federal Ambassador NC02
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
I enjoy being an ambassador because I am part of a group growing the NIH’s dollars for research. As these years have passed, I have seen the congressional support grow more than seven-fold since 2011 to $3.1 billion in annual federal investment per year in 2021.
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
There are many different types of ways to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association. Find your place that fits your interest and your bandwidth. You might have time for the Walk once a year, or a project that lasts a few months, or office support a few days a week. There is no problem if you have to step away from the organization due to work or family conflicts; you will be welcomed back with open arms. We all hope one day, these volunteer opportunities go away when there is a cure for this horrific disease.