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 2022, 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 personal connection to dementia and desire to help has brought me to this Association. My great-grandmother had dementia when she passed away in August 2013. I remember only being 14 when I had to help my grandma and mother take care of her. I had to spend time with her or “watch” her while they were running errands, doing chores, or taking care of themselves. It took a major toll on my family, especially on my grandma. She didn’t want to let her mother go to a nursing home because she heard about the negative treatment older people were experiencing, so as a retired nurse, she felt confident that she could care for her by herself with help from my mother and me.
It affected all of us mentally, emotionally, and physically. I remember that she slowly started to forget where she placed items, and it progressed into her getting our names confused. It really hurt to see my family members hurting in their own way. My mom and grandma were hurting in their struggle to support, my great-grandmother was slowly losing herself, and I was confused that I was a young child who had to help care for her older family member. My great-grandmother was there but not there completely. So many tears were shed, prayers were said, and weight was lost from the stress. When she passed, it was the hardest time in our lives considering how close we were to her. My personal experience with this disease has allowed me to empathize with others who share a similar story and to strongly understand and support the mission of this Association. I want to find ways to help by getting involved. I strive to support and love on those with Alzheimer’s disease who can’t remember. I remember, and in my remembrance, I strive to honor the lives lost and to support families and this Association.
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
I am a member of The Longest Day Committee.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
I enjoy that I get to contribute my time to develop ideas, to communicate with supporters, and to capture and write about the experiences of those who desire to share their narratives to be the mouthpiece for those who have experienced Alzheimer’s disease.
What piece of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
In my opinion, writing about personal narratives via blog posts makes the most impact. I’m beginning to write my first guest blog post for the Association, and I think that storytelling is so impactful. It’s powerful, and it allows people to connect with each other through sympathy and empathy. It’s through this sympathy and empathy that people can find strength to not only share their narratives but to encourage others to join the fight!
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, then I would say that even if you can’t personally relate to this experience, just imagine if you or a loved one has to fight this disease. Place yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine the support and love that you’d need to endure. Wouldn’t you need that? Wouldn’t you want people in the world finding new ways to help you and others with this disease? Think about it that way, and it will powerfully resonate with you. Fight as if this were you or your own family member.
THANK YOU, BRIANA.
Volunteers truly help move our mission forward. Interested in becoming a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association in NC?
Visit alz.org/get-involved-now/volunteer or call 800-272-3900.