When Rick Edmondson was diagnosed less than two years ago with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 57, his sister, Shane Forrest, knew what she had to do.
The head volleyball coach at Montrose High School (MHS), Shane took a year away from the coaching position she’s held for the past 20 years to spend more time with Rick and his wife, Traci. And she spent her 50th birthday captaining his team, True Grit, in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Boulder, leading it to the highest family team fundraising total at the event.
While Shane has since resumed her coaching responsibilities at MHS, she isn’t done advocating for her brother by a long shot. Raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease has become an important part of her mission, and she’s enlisted her students in the process.
“Go Purple” was the theme at Montrose High’s most recent volleyball match, and the entire school embraced the cause, adorning the halls with purple and inspiring people to divulge their own personal stories. Even the opposing team from Fruita High School showed up in their own purple shirts with ENDALZ on the back.
“Many MHS staff members have shared their stories with us about their mothers, their uncles and their friends, and the battles they waged with this ugly disease,” said Shane. “The stories are powerful, and I feel like we’re giving them a small way to remember and honor their loved ones.”
Shane’s volleyball team raised funds for the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association by selling purple shirts at the game, and she will be back in Boulder next August with Rick and Traci for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Nearly 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 71,000 in Colorado. It is the No. 6 killer of people in the U.S., and the only leading disease without a prevention, treatment or cure. To learn more, go to http://www.alz.org/co or call the Association’s free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.