From the instant Monica Cortes McLean first came on board at McKee Homes, she knew she wanted to be directly involved in the company’s commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association. Hispanics/Latinos are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than older white Americans. As Monica is Panamanian and Chilean, this places her family at higher risk and she’s already seen it firsthand in loved ones. Monica’s involvement is inspired by her great-grandmother, who she believes suffered from dementia, along with a desire to set an example of community service for her own children.
“It’s one of the reasons I even joined McKee Homes, was because their community involvement is so great,” Monica, a Construction/Customer Care Coordinator for the North Carolina-based company, said.
On Oct. 30, Monica will take part in her second consecutive Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Fayetteville with the McKee Homes team, and she’s more than amped up for the big day. Not only is it her first more ‘traditional’ Walk due to COVID-19 precautions last year – she has an even loftier fundraiser goal in sight.
“We got a lot of our homeowners involved and that was nice,” she said of last year’s remote Walk. “It was like a personal touch. You don’t realize how many people are affected by Alzheimer’s, but every person there had a story.”
Trade partners got involved, too, all winding their way through McKee Homes neighborhoods. Last year, the company held small walks in every region in which they build houses, covering Raleigh, Fayetteville, Pinehurst and Wilmington. Monica proudly exceeded her $2,500 goal by about $500. That boost was all she needed to aim even higher this year to $10,000.
For 2021, Monica is helping spearhead McKee Homes team efforts for the Fayetteville Walk. Yet again, she explained, she’s amazed to see so many people connected to McKee Homes come together to raise funds and hit the pavement – from McKee staff to homeowners and trade partners that she’s developed new and deeper relationships with thanks to a common interest in eradicating this horrible disease.
One trade partner, she said, even wrote her a heartfelt and vulnerable letter about his grandmother who raised him and sadly passed of Alzheimer’s. “It was really sweet because, you know, you don’t really get on that personal level sometimes when you’re in construction.”
At last check, Monica is only dollars shy of her $10,000 goal and she’s elated. “The answer’s always no if you don’t ask,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with asking.” Much like her company’s founder, she’s fully committed to the cause and understands the importance of funding the science that will eventually result in a cure.
“For me, it’s a personal victory in regards to feeling like I’m able to do my part. If I can get involved and have the support from my company, it’s empowering, especially as a woman in construction.”
Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in the United States. By 2050, the number of Hispanic elders with Alzheimer’s and other dementias could increase more than six-fold, from nearly 200,000 today to as many as 1.3 million. Despite their increased risk, Hispanics/Latinos are underrepresented in clinical trials, making up just 1 to 7% of all clinical trial participants. The Alzheimer’s Association wants families to know they are not alone when navigating Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The Association offers free Spanish-language resources, programs and services including:
- A free nationwide 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) staffed by specialists and master’s-level clinicians who offer comprehensive information, care consultations, referrals and real-time support – translation services available in more than 200 languages.
- A comprehensive Spanish-language portal of information on Alzheimer’s and dementia, care and support, research, ways to involved and to find a local office.
Funds raised through efforts like Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which Monica supports, helps the Alzheimer’s Association pursue research into health disparities like the impact on the Hispanic/Latino community.
LIKE MONICA, 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.
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.