Special Walk to End Alzheimer’s Update

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As many of you know, the months of August and September are busy times for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. The 11 Walks to End Alzheimer’s around the state contribute a significant portion of our Chapter’s revenues, and enable us to continue to provide education, programs and services – all at no charge – to Colorado families. In addition, we support national research to find the cure for this dreaded disease.

For those of you who have participated in or supported one of the Colorado Walks, you have our heartfelt thanks. For everyone else, there is still time to participate in one of the four upcoming Walks, sponsor a Walk team, or make a donation to ensure that no family facing Alzheimer’s has to face it without the services of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Upcoming Walks

DenverThe Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at City Park. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and the Walk starts just after 9 o’clock. We are expecting 10,000 Walkers for Colorado’s premier Walk to End Alzheimer’s and one of the top five Walks in the entire country. The event currently stands at 53 percent of the $1.39 million goal. For details on the Walk or to make a donation, click here.

Colorado Springs – This Walk also will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at America the Beautiful Park. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk starts just after 9 a.m.  This event currently stands at 57 percent of the $195,000 goal. To learn more about the Colorado Springs Walk or make a donation, click here.

Southwest Colorado/Cortez – The third Walk on Saturday, Sept. 17, will be held at Cortez City Park, with registration opening at 8:45 a.m. and the Walk at 9:15 a.m. This event currently stands at 57 percent of its $30,000 goal. Click here for more details or to donate to the Cortez Walk.

Larimer County/Loveland – The final Colorado Walk of 2016 will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at Loveland’s Chapungu Sculpture Park, with registration opening at 9 a.m. and the Walk at 10 a.m. To register for this Walk or make a donation, click here. The Larimer Walk is at 61 percent of its $185,000 goal.

Recent Walks

Seven Walks to End Alzheimer’s have been held throughout the state already this year, beginning with the Aug. 13 Boulder Walk and including events in Greeley, Sterling, Steamboat Springs, Fort Morgan, Grand Junction and Pueblo.

Collectively, the 11 Colorado Walks are at __ percent of their goal. Check out some photos of the Boulder Walk, and be sure to like us on Facebook to see photos of all the other Walks.

“We are hopeful that those with a family member with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or those the Association has helped in the past, have an understanding and appreciation for the services that all Coloradoans can receive at no charge, from our 24/7 bilingual Helpline to education to support groups to a wide range of programs,” said Linda Mitchell, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. “In addition, to enabling us to provide services locally, your contributions help further our national research efforts to find a prevention, treatment and cure for this deadly disease.”

To support any of the Walks, or to make a donation to support Alzheimer’s Association programs and services, click here.

Alzheimer’s Facts

  • 67,000 Coloradoans are living with Alzheimer’s – a total expected to top 92,000 by 2025, a 37% increase
    • 4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s – projected to top 16 million by 2050
  • 239,000 Colorado caregivers provided 272 million hours of unpaid care valued at $3.3 billion in 2015
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. – it kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined
    • Alzheimer’s is the only leading disease without a prevention, treatment or cure
  • African-American and Hispanic adults are twice as likely and 1.5 times as likely, respectively, to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than white adults
  • More than 1 in 5 Medicare dollars currently are spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias – totals expected to reach $1 of $3 by 2050

 

Honoring My Parents

Kristen Beatty

Everyone impacted by Alzheimer’s has an amazing and touching story. My friend Marty, whose family also lives with this disease, very eloquently stated a wish that I share: that someday soon our kids will talk about Alzheimer’s the way we talk about polio – a disease that is all but gone due to the advances of science.

My Family

Blog photo.  Ray Rider, Sue Rider, Kristen Beatty, Brian BeattyMy story is also one of love. It is not only about my father currently living with Alzheimer’s, but the amazing caregiver that my mother was for him.

My father, Ray, was in the United States Air Force for 30 years. He was a fighter pilot – full of life – and considered himself lucky to be entrusted to defend our country by flying the F-100, F-4 and ultimately the F-16. He served in Vietnam, and never speaks of the experience.

The true hero of this 30-year story, though, is my mom, Sue. If you’ve ever read anything about military wives, you know the stamina, love and intention it takes to manage a household, move every two years (for some), make new friends, support other wives, and hold it together when your military husband is away often. She was loved deeply by her peers and by me and my brother for her joyful spirit and great advice.

At their 50th wedding anniversary, my mom shared great stories of their travels, adventures and friends. We’d lived in Europe for over 10 years, and she said we’d moved 26 times since they’d been married! Their grandkids called her “Super Nana” because she was indeed super-human, and always there with everything we needed, all while caring for my dad.

Our Journey

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s sometime in his 60s. My brother and I didn’t know for a while because my mom always kept it together and didn’t want to worry us. Even after we did find out, it didn’t seem to be so bad because my mom made everything seem effortless. She put up a good front to make everything appear “handled” and “not that bad.”

On November 10, 2012, my mom passed away unexpectedly. They said it was from heart failure. I agreed that her heart did fail – she died of a broken heart. Once she was gone and not there to make “everything alright,” we realized just how bad my dad’s condition was – the anger, the paranoia, the confusion and the onslaught of questions that he must’ve asked my mom over and over every day.

My Promise Flower Dedication

I am actively involved in the Alzheimer’s Association, volunteer at many events and even co-chair the Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s volunteer committee.
As much money as I raise, and as hard as I work to get the word out for advocacy and change to support research to end this disease, it never seems like enough.tribute wall blog image - rider

I am so happy to have the chance to make a significant donation to support the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado in their names, and place my mom and dad up on the Promise Garden Tribute Wall. My parents raised me to take action, and this is a perfect way to do that and honor both of them.

About the author:

Kristen Beatty is the co-chair of the Denver 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Volunteer Committee, and the director of business development at Webolutions. Kristen is a proud graduate of the University of Denver, and has lived in Denver most of her adult life. She currently resides in Centennial with her husband, Brian, and their two children. Kristen and her brother, Doug, work together with their families to care for her father living with the disease.

Make a Special Tribute to a Loved One with Alzheimer’s – Whether You Walk or Not

Individuals who have lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s – or may know someone who is currently dealing with the challenges of the disease – have the opportunity to make a special tribute to that person at the 2016 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s, even if you won’t be able to participate in the annual Walk.

This year for the very first time, the Colorado Chapter’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s event on Saturday, Sept. 17, will feature a 16-foot-wide by 9-foot-high Jumbotron screen, which will show live images from the Walk as well as tributes on the new Promise Garden Tribute Wall.

A complement to the thousands of Promise Flowers that are raised annually at the Walk, the Tribute Wall will feature photos of loved ones who have experienced Alzheimer’s. The Tribute Wall will be prominently displayed on the Jumbotron screen at City Park, with each image broadcast at least three times during the Walk.

After the Denver Walk is completed, the Tribute Wall images will be shown throughout the year on the Colorado Chapter’s website: www.alz.org/co.

The new Promise Garden Tribute Wall offers families that have personally experienced Alzheimer’s the opportunity to honor their loved one while supporting the Colorado Chapter’s ongoing care and support services that are offered at no cost throughout the state, as well as educational programs and research to find a cure.

Each tribute will include the name and photo of the individual, as well as the corresponding Alzheimer’s Promise Flower of the person making the tribute:

  • Blue for an individual with Alzheimer’s
  • Yellow for a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s
  • Purple for an individual who has lost someone to Alzheimer’s
  •  Orange for an advocate for a world without Alzheimer’s

Learn more about the Promise Garden Tribute Wall, or make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado and secure your personal tribute to your loved one>>>

The Longest Day Volunteer Lia Jones – Color Her Motivated

On June 20, Denver marriage and family therapist Lia Jones will spend the day coloring.  It’s not a new form of therapy. It’s her way of paying tribute to her 84-year-old mother, Nelly, who is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, and has found a measure of pleasure and refuge from the disease through art.

Along with five other volunteers on her Color My World team, Jones is participating in the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado’s The Longest Day program to raise funds to support Alzheimer’s education, services and research, and to pay tribute to those like Nelly who daily deal with the challenges posed by the disease.

Through her education, Jones knows there is only so much she can do to counter the toll that Alzheimer’s is having on her mother.

“The smart, quick, creative woman with dancing feet of fire was struggling to process things we take for granted as simple, everyday parts of life,” said Jones of her mother. It was at that point that Jones realized she needed to help her parents relocate to a senior living residence.

When the disease robbed Nelly of the ability to enjoy reading, daughter Lia turned to art.  About five months ago, she bought her mother a coloring book, and the change was immediate.

“She loves it,” said Jones. “It was so helpful to my mom. She spends much of her day surrounded by her colorful pencils and beautiful coloring books.”

Her mother’s discovery of the joys of art inspired Jones to assemble the Color My World team for The Longest Day event with five friends, who will participate in a dawn-to-dusk coloring relay, each coloring during a designated portion of the day.  At sunset, the team will gather for a barbecue dinner to share their art and stories. Due to the generosity of donors, Jones’ team already has exceeded its personal fundraising goal of $4,160.

“What a great way to spend the day, joining her (Nelly) in spirit and in action, creating a more colorful world,” said Jones.

But Jones didn’t stop there.  She also is helping raise donations for a Longest Day event at her parents’ new home, The Residence at Timber Pines in Spring Hill, Florida, where residents and staff there will be participating in their own events to raise funds for the fight to end Alzheimer’s. Her Dad will also be physically participating in the events at The Residences throughout their event day.

“When it comes to Alzheimer’s, it’s a new concept for many people to consider because we’re all living longer,” said Jones.  “It has become an epidemic, and it’s something with which we all need to be concerned.  We all know someone affected by Alzheimer’s.”

Mrs. Annabel Bowlen to Cut the Opening Ceremony Ribbon at Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Mrs. Annabel Bowlen cutting the ribbon at the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's
Mrs. Annabel Bowlen cutting the ribbon at the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Mrs. Annabel Bowlen, Captain of Team Super Bowlen, will join more than 10,000 Denver residents to unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s® . Team Super Bowlen was among the Top 10 National Walk to End Alzheimer’s Fundraising Teams in 2014. Broncos fans are invited to show support by joining and donating to Team Super Bowlen for the September 19 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Denver City Park.

“I like being part of the Walk so we can all come together in unity to raise awareness for this dreadful disease that is plaguing our community and our nation. The fact of the matter is, we all know someone with Alzheimer’s.” –Mrs. Annabel Bowlen

Walk participants will honor those affected by Alzheimer’s disease with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony led by Beth Bowlen Wallace immediately before the Ribbon Cutting. In 2014 the Denver Walk was the fourth largest in the country raising more than one million dollars for care, support and research efforts for those impacted by Alzheimer’s

Denver Walk to End Alzheimer's.
Crowd at the 2014 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Oh Say Can You Sing to End Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado is proud to announce Oh Say Can You Sing to End Alzheimer’s, a talent search for a volunteer vocalist to sing the National Anthem at the 2015 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s. More than 10,000 Coloradans are expected to walk the morning of September 19 at Denver City Park to raise awareness and funds to end Alzheimer’s.

Oh Say Can You Sing to End Alzheimer’s, a talent search for a volunteer vocalist to sing the National Anthem at the 2015 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Oh Say Can You Sing to End Alzheimer’s, a talent search for a volunteer vocalist to sing the National Anthem at the 2015 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The 2014 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s was the fourth largest in the United States and raised more than one million dollars to advance research and provide support to the more than 65,000 Coloradans living with the Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

To audition for this high profile performance opportunity, please submit a YouTube video of you singing the national anthem a cappella to Jordan Ambron, jambron@alz.org, by Noon MTN on August 26, 2015.


The winner must be available to arrive at Denver City Park no later than 8:00 am the morning of Saturday, September 19 to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The winner will be announced on September 8, 2015.

Win A Pair of Broncos Suite Tickets

BroncosPreSeasonSuiteTickets.jpg

The Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, a proud Denver Broncos Community Partner, will give away 10 pairs of tickets to the Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers preseason game on August 29, 2015. The seats are located in Suite 418 and include complimentary food and non alcoholic beverage. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages all Coloradans to register for one of the twelve statewide Walk to End Alzheimer’s events. To be eligible, one must:

Ten lucky people will be randomly selected on August 19, 2015 to receive two tickets to the Broncos vs 49ers preseason game. To be eligible you must raise a minimum of $500 as an individual Walk to End Alzheimer’s participant before 11:59 pm on August 18, 2015, and enter your information through this website.

*The $500 must be posted to your online participant page by 11:59 pm on August 18, 2015. Please note that cash and checks received by the Alzheimer’s Association may take up to seven days to post to your online account after being received at our Denver office. All registrations will automatically subscribe to the complimentary email newsletter of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.

Getting Sweaty for Rick and Betty

I am very happy to share my Walk to End Alzheimer’s story, it is actually one that was well talked about 6 years ago. My husband and I got married the day before the WALK in 2009. We had our entire wedding party get up early the day after and walk with us in honor of my father-in-law and in memory of my grandmother.

 Walk to End Alzheimer's Team
Our 2009 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Team.

I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s in 2006, she was residing in Oklahoma at the time of her death. It was extremely hard for all of us to watch what she went through the last couple years of her life. Just a month before her death, I met my husband! Even though we had only been seeing each other for a month, he drove out to Iowa with me for the funeral. I knew then he was a keeper!! 🙂

In 2007 my father-in-law was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, he was only 53 at the time. I have never seen anyone effected as fast as he was. We didn’t get to see him often as he lived in Northern California, but when we did it was so hard for my husband to see how much his father had changed.

In 2009, my husband and I were getting preparations ready for our wedding. We had our date set, September 18th, a Friday. People wondered why we didn’t choose the Saturday, well, that’s because of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We wanted to make sure we participated. My father-in-law was not going to make it out for the wedding, his doctor’s did not think that the trip would be good for him. It was very hard to deal with that all the way up to the wedding, my husband kept wishing that his dad could be there.

Rick and my husband.
Rick and my husband a few days before our wedding.

It’s now the Wednesday before our wedding, a car pulls up to our driveway. My husband notices that there’s too many people in the car. He opens the front door and out of the car comes his dad! You could probably imagine my husband’s shock and surprise! His aunt was able to get him out to Denver for our wedding!! It truly was a blessing, we were able to get great pictures of the entire family, my husband got to share that day with his dad. Then, his dad walked with us at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s the next day. We couldn’t have asked for anything more!

 

Fast forward to Summer of 2010. We’re pregnant!! I’m due on December 7th, we don’t know what we’re having. We get a call from California. My husband’s dad is not doing well at all. He’s in the hospital and they don’t know how long he has. We didn’t hesitate, we got off work that day, jumped in the car and drove straight for 18 hours to California. Which, as you can imagine, being 5 months pregnant was not much fun to do. His dad ended up making it through several days, nothing was changing in his condition though. I had to get back to Denver as did my husband, we were due to find out the sex of our baby in three days.

Before we left California, knowing that his dad only had days left, we told the family that if we are having a boy, we want to name him after my father-in-law. Everyone was touched at our gesture. Two days later, my husband is driving back to Denver from California, and gets the call that his dad died. The next day, we find out that we are having a baby boy! We now have a very rambunctious 4-year-old, Richard Edward Holbrook II (Ricky), named after his Grandpa Rick.

As if this story isn’t long enough. In 2012 I gave birth to a lovely baby girl. We named her Elizabeth, after her Great Grandma Betty (originally Elizabeth). Now in 2015, we want to bring back our original Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, Getting Sweaty for Rick and Betty, and walk with my two kids who are our living memorials to those that we lost to Alzheimer’s.

Ricky and Elizabeth
Our kids, Ricky and Elizabeth, named for their grandparents.

Our Alzheimer’s story  has definitely been one with great highs and great lows. Due to our experiences, my husband, who went to school to be a golf course manager, working in private country clubs for 5 years, changed his career. He now works for Brookdale Senior Living in Arvada, he’s the Executive Director. He looked long and hard at his life while his dad was suffering from Alzheimer’s and he said to himself, what am I doing? He felt that his hands were tied since he wasn’t able to take care of him out in California. So he did the next best thing. He started a career where he could help those here in Denver living with the disease. To this day he doesn’t regret that decision. He loves his job, and his residents love him!

– Jessica Holbrook, Team Captain of Getting Sweaty for Rick and Betty

Helping To Change Lives One Step At A Time

Jack Fussell running
Jack Fussell running the Boulder Flatirons

Jack Fussell’s Facebook page says he is “just a regular guy trying to help, like I promised I would.”

But Fussell is anything but regular. The 64 year old Navy veteran is walking and running more than 3500 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, all to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

Fussell started his incredible cross-country journey on November 4, 2014 from Tybee Island in his home state of Georgia, and he will be finishing the trek in Monterey, California. Currently, Fussell is racing across Colorado. This ‘regular guy’ covers an impressive 20-25 miles each day, inspiring and educating those he meets along the way, and changing the lives of people affected by the disease one step at a time.

Jack Fussell running through Colorado
Jack Fussell running through the Colorado mountains

But his journey isn’t just about completing the physical challenge. Talking to as many people as possible about the disease is one of his most important goals. “Every 67 seconds, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made,” he said. “This disease is devastating…and not just for the people living with the disease, also for their caregivers.”
In 2000, Fussell lost his father to Alzheimer’s disease. His father came from a family of 12 siblings, seven of whom died of the disease. Faced with the loss of his father and a personal health scare, Fussell was inspired to reevaluate his life. He lost 100 pounds and made it his new mission to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease by trekking across the country.

 

His campaign, “Across the Land, raising awareness one step at a time” has been featured in hundreds of media outlets across the country and has enabled him to meet four governors as well as countless people affected by the disease. “I’ve spent about 55 nights in Alzheimer’s units talking to patients and caregivers. These special experiences are life changing and remind me that I need to keep going forward with our mission.”
Although his journey is physically and emotionally draining, Fussell is constantly inspired by the many brave people he meets that are either affected by the disease or working towards finding a cure. “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be able to do this.” But he stresses that so much work needs to be done in terms of legislation and funding. “It is shocking how little funding is provided for this disease – people can help by talking to their lawmakers and demanding change.”

Fussell said his trek doesn’t exactly have a set-in-stone plan. He usually just travels wherever there is an Alzheimer’s Association chapter. Fussell also wants to raise awareness of the network that is available to inform and support anyone touched by Alzheimer’s. “People can call 800-272-3900 to reach a 24-hour-a-day help line that has counselors for caregivers or anyone concerned about the illness,” he said.

Jack Fussell visits the Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter
Jack Fussell visits the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association or to follow Fussell’s journey, visit facebook.com/acrosstheland2015.

Leslie Mitchell

 

-by Leslie Mitchell, Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer.

Memories Supporting Memories

My Grandma, Charlotte Barrett, passed away in 2007 after nearly 13 years of living with Alzheimer’s disease. I remember the day when I saw my dad, Miles Barrett, after he had just heard the news about his mother. At the time, I was just a young teenager and didn’t know anything about the disease or what my Grandma’s future held. What I do remember is that I had never in my life seen my Dad so devastated and I feared for what I was about to learn.

My grandma
“my memories with her are distinctly filled with fun and laughter”

Looking back, I don’t remember much about my Grandma before she began living with Alzheimer’s. However, my memories with her are all distinctly filled with fun and laughter. Dancing around to the player piano at their house in Littleton – Laughing at my new favorite movie “Dumb & Dumber” – Skiing the slopes of Breckenridge. She was the type of person who always wore a smile and was loved by everyone who knew her. During her later years, I particularly remember how greatly music would lift her spirits. When she heard a song that triggered her memory, she would light up and sometimes even laugh; much like how I now feel when I hear songs that take me back to the days of dancing around their player piano. The gift of memory is truly something special.

Larry and his Grandmother at the Walk to End Alzheimer's.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s (then the Memory Walk) in 2006 with my Grandpa and our friends.

I couldn’t write this without talking about how strong and supportive our family was throughout these years; in particular, about my Grandpa (whom I was named after). Grandpa took care of Grandma as long as he could before getting professional help. Even then, Grandpa visited Grandma for years on a daily basis. Taking her on walks, to the movies or just listening to some of their favorite tunes. His love and support never grew thin. Grandpa partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association for support and was heavily involved with them through the years.

One thing my Grandpa taught me was the importance of giving back. Every year, I make it a priority to start a team and participate in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It’s a fun way to raise money for the association, and is turning into a tradition of mine. I’ve also helped provide the large banners and signs for the Association’s events through my previous large-format printing job. However, I wanted to do more. I wanted to make a bigger impact and raise more awareness. Finally, the perfect opportunity arose with my new start-up company, JustSayCheese.com.

Our Banners at the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer's
Our Banners at the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

We started Just Say Cheese based on the simple fact that we all have way too many photos on our phones and never do anything with them. Thousands of memories each year get loaded onto hard drives and rarely visited again. The marketplace didn’t offer an affordable way to showcase your photos and celebrate your memories with others. Through our unique, patent-pending process, we’ve developed a type of canvas print that is a fraction of the cost of any other photo-to-canvas company and can easily be ordered through our website. Our prints make for beautiful wall art, personalized gifts and can even be used as a type of reminiscence therapy for those suffering with Alzheimer’s, all at a price point that wasn’t previously available. Our team is dedicated to working hard for the success of JustSayCheese.com as well as our efforts to become a large supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Just Say Cheese  Canvas Print
A Just Say Cheese Print Ready To Hang.

For every canvas print sold, JustSayCheese.com will donate $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Just Say Cheese Alzheimers Association SupporterI will continue to walk each year for my Dad – for my Grandma – for my Grandpa – and for the millions of other people impacted by the disease. Thank you for your support of our efforts and I look forward to seeing you at this year’s Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 19th!

-By Larry Barrett