It Takes a Village

We’ve all heard the phrase. The timeless adage is tossed around a lot. For Berkley Stafford, though, it’s an aphorism that truly hits home — and the office and the sidewalk.

In 2017, the CEO of Emerald Isle’s TransImpact launched a company initiative to leave the world a better place. Aided by like-minded employees, Impact1 was born at the Inc. 5000 company. The philanthropic effort gives back one percent of the company’s profits each year to charities chosen based on employees’ personal connections or community connections. “We see really an accumulation of where our collective passion as individuals meet the overall want in the charitable world,” Stafford explained.

As it would turn out, a common connection erupted from that collective passion. One that Stafford, himself, has experienced. “I know specifically of 20 plus people in our organization that their family members have fallen victim to or they are currently dealing with a family member that has Alzheimer’s,” he said.

After a subsequent visit from the Alzheimer’s Association during which the TransImpact team learned more about the statistics and prevalence of dementia diseases, purple became a staple around the office and Impact1 got involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and other dementias. TransImpact’s first Walk to End Alzheimer’s was in 2020, as not only Berkley and his team, but their families, customers and community members hit the pavement for the Jacksonville Walk in their own streets of Emerald Isle.

“Last year was just an unbelievable surprise that the goal that we had set, there were a few passionate members within our community and within our company itself, we were able to match the donation that our employees raised for the walk,” Stafford said. To give you a hint of just how much was raised – the initial fundraising goal was $10,000, which the employees met and surpassed. That total was matched by Impact1, along with another generous gift from within the company personnel bringing their first year total to more than $30,000. In 2021, the TransImpact Team ‘village’ is striving to to hit a $15,000 goal before matching gifts are applied, and they are well on their way. They look forward to walking as a team again in Emerald Isle and also on October 16 at this year’s Jacksonville Walk.

Stafford reflects on his own family coming together many years ago during his paternal grandmother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and progression. The family matriarch, dubbed an ‘unbelievable character’ by Stafford, was a pillar in her faith community who loved cooking, baking and was a master gardener. “But Alzheimer’s, you know, it doesn’t show partiality to anything or anybody.”

Stafford, a then 20-something, watched his grandmother Margaret’s decline alongside his father. When the family became concerned about Margaret living alone on her 10-acre property in Wallace, Stafford’s aunt quit her job to become a full-time caregiver. The aunt was completely supported by her siblings, including Stafford’s dad, during that time as they all wanted to keep Margaret in a familiar environment for as long as possible. Years later, she was moved to a long-term care community before passing. 

“As long as they’re alive they’re still in there, somewhere, you got to believe,” Stafford said. “Because they still need that care. They’re still breathing. It’s just taken them captive […] that’s where it resonated for my father.”

Stafford refers to the experience with his grandmother as incredibly eye-opening. From her changes in behavior to the emotional toll it took on his family — especially his father — the Staffords leaned hard on their internal ‘village’ through this tough chapter with little outside navigation as they were unfamiliar with the Alzheimer’s Association and its resources at the time. Today, though, Stafford’s father has joined the TransImpact team in participating in the Walk and Stafford believes his dad has learned more about dementia in the last two years than he had previously. 

Ultimately, his family’s connection to the disease is just one of many among TransImpact’s staff, the company’s customers and the local community – making this Walk an effort that truly blossomed out of a collective passion. “We’ve had family members, we’ve had customers contribute, we’ve had community members contribute and we welcome that. We all wear our purple shirts and we are making this walk so people know what it’s about,” Stafford said. Whether you’re supporting a loved one, each other or a global effort to eradicate a horrible disease, it really does take a village.

LIKE BERKLEY AND THE TRANSIMPACT TEAM MEMBERS, WE ALL HAVE A REASON TO FIGHT FOR A WORLD WITHOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Join your local Walk to End Alzheimer’s today.

The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association® mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s.

We’re moving forward with plans to host the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in person this fall. We are planning every Walk with the health and safety of our constituents, staff and volunteers as our top priorities. All events will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, masks (where required), contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. We will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines to ensure Walk events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees, as well as offer options to participate online and in your neighborhood.

2021 NORTH CAROLINA WALK DATES

Alamance County – 9.25.21
Asheville – 10.9.21
Charlotte – 10.23.21
Fayetteville – 10.30.21
Gaston/Cleveland/Lincoln – 10.9.21
Guilford County – 10.16.21
Henderson County – 9.25.21
Hickory – 10.31.21
Iredell County – 9.25.21
Jacksonville – 10.16.21
Moore County – 9.25.21
Mount Airy – 9.18.21
New Bern – 10.23.21
Rowan-Cabarrus – 10.30.21
Triangle – 10.9.21
Wilmington – 11.6.21
Winston-Salem – 11.6.21

Where there’s a Walk, there’s a way.


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GUEST BLOGGER:
Madeline David
Madeline is a former TV news reporter & anchor who got involved with the Alzheimer’s Association in Oct. 2020. She volunteers her nearly decade-long experience as a journalist to honor her grandfather, who is living with vascular dementia.

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