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>>>

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.

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

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

Why I Walk To End Alzheimer’s – The Gali Family Story

My grandfather - Ricardo Gali
My grandfather – Ricardo Gali

 

We have chosen to join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in honor for my grandfather Ricardo Gali who passed away from Alzheimer’s in December 2012 at the age of 97. My family has a unique background story which is why I feel my grandfather fought for so long and so hard.

 

My grandfather, grandmother were born and raised in Havana Cuba. When my mother was 2 years old they began their journey to America. My grandparents went through some very frightening events to get to America, including coming very close to being shot for sneaking milk to my mother and uncle (he was 1 at the time). From the minute my grandfather touched American soil he expressed how grateful he was to be here and how important family was. This was passed on to all of the grandchildren from a young age. I have very fond memories of my grandfather teaching us what it meant to be a part of a family that escaped Cuba unharmed. My grandfather always made sure we did everything as a family.

Growing up I thought it was normal to always have family gatherings with extended cousins, great aunts etc. As I got older I realized how unique we were and cherished it even more. My grandfather was always a very active person and never believed in hiring anyone to do anything, rather do it all himself. As time went on I saw the change in my grandfather and saw him getting more and more frustrated with things that seemed effortless not too long prior. As time went on we all started to see not only the affect on him but also my grandmother as she was the main care taker for him, but never once gave up. We all helped out where we could constantly visiting and staying late to make sure my grandmother had help and had someone to talk to when there were bad days.

My grandfather and Grandmother a few years prior to my grandfather passing away.
My grandfather and Grandmother a few years prior to my grandfather passing away.

3 years prior to my grandfather passing he began falling a lot and my grandmother could not help him back up, so all of the children and grandchildren moved our family’s to be closer so there was always someone minutes away in case of an emergency. Shortly after we all moved I saw the values that my grandfather constantly talked about come to life. My grandfather had fallen, but this time he had hurt himself pretty bad and we had to call the ambulance. Within minutes of us getting the call that he fell and needed a hospital we were all at my grandparent’s house to help out and keep my grandmother calm. As the ambulance took him away we all followed. The hospital had about 30 people sitting in the waiting room to hear about my grandfather. Towards the end things got harder but we never gave up and spent as much time as possible with him knowing time was coming to an end.

 

It will be 2 years in December since my grandfather has passed and our family has only bonded closer and stronger. We are all still hurt over his passing but know he is watching over us. We still gather for every holiday, birthday, and just because, because that is how he would of wanted it and that is how he liked our family, close together and spreading endless love between each other. This is why we will be participating as a family in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Denver City Park on September 20, 2014 to honor Ricardo Gali.

-Mallerie Lapp

Why I Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Adam’s Story

My mom, Nancy Leonard.
My mom, Nancy Leonard.

 

My mom, Nancy Leonard, died from Alzheimer’s disease on Valentine’s Day 2013. Her mother, Betty Stoffregen, is in a nursing home in Lubbock, Texas still struggling with this horrible disease. I am devoting my team’s cause to remember my mom and for the struggle that my grandmother goes through still today.

 

My mom was a school teacher in a small town in Eastern Colorado (Bethune School). She was such a wonderful person that always thought about others first and was truly dedicated to teaching her students. After her retirement in 2008 she moved to Dodge City, Kansas to take care of my grandmother with dementia. They then moved to Lubbock,Texas to be closer to family. To make a long story short, my mom, while taking care of her mother with dementia, began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

She eventually moved in with me and my roommates in Denver in 2010. I was 28 years old. We did our best to take care of her through all of the ups and downs – through her going out for walks and getting lost and having the police bring her home – through her having hallucinations – through her ending up in a nursing home. We got to a point where we needed outside help. We hired a company to have a nurse come over every day while we were at work to take care of her. We eventually needed to move her to Brookshire House in late 2011. The staff and the facility were such a joy and wonder to work with they actually helped my mom get to the point where she could talk again. I was able to talk to her every day on the phone. However, the disease eventually progressed and she was moved into a secure section of the nursing home. She started to fall regularly, then she stopped eating, and the end result we all know…

My mom was 60 years old when she died. She had so much life to give. My mom was such an influential person in my life and having to go through this at such a young age on both our parts was a life changing event. I think that the Alzheimer’s Association is such a wonderful organization because people need to understand how this is going to affect their lives. This disease doesn’t care how old you are, it doesn’t care how it hurts the ones you love, it is relentless, it is ruthless, it is cruel. The only thing that you can do is be prepared and know what to expect. You have to be financially ready and of sound mind to even begin to handle something of this magnitude.

I miss my mom daily and only hope that we can come together as a human race so that nobody has to go through this again. That’s why I will be participating in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Denver City Park on September 20, 2014.

 

Why I Walk-Lise Maes

As the Walk to End Alzheimer’s approaches, Lise Maes, Walk Committee Member and Team Captain, shares why she walks:

The main reason I participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to pay tribute to my grandmother who suffered in an 8 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  She was a great source of love and light in my life.  Watching her deterioration due to Alzheimer’s was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced.

I’ll be quite honest – the Walk is also a way for me to transform the negative energy that resulted from losing someone I love to the cruelest disease imaginable.

I’m still very angry that my grandmother was taken from me in such an unfair way. She slowly but surely lost her memory, her independence and her ability to determine reality.  In addition, she lost the ability to carry out a number of practical routines that many of us take for granted – driving, cooking, walking, getting dressed, bathing and swallowing. As I continue to work on coming to terms with what she went through and with her absence in my life, the Walk provides a positive way to cope and to channel my energy into doing something positive to make a difference.

As I witnessed the painful effects Alzheimer’s had on my family, I started asking myself why the disease didn’t receive more attention and more funding.  I was motivated to change that, so I got involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and its largest fundraiser, Memory Walk – now called the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  It’s been a great experience gathering together with family, friends, caregivers and concerned community members who all want to make a difference.

By raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and fundraising for a cure, we can change the lives of those who are battling the disease and those who generously and tirelessly provide care for the afflicted.  It is so important that we step up and act as a strong and united force against this disease.  This is how we pay our tribute to those we have lost and this is how we ensure our ultimate goal – a world without Alzheimer’s.

Why I Walk: For Nana

Why do you participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s?  Let us know at Facebook.com/alzco and you could be featured in a future blog post!