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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
For every canvas print sold, JustSayCheese.com will donate $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association. I 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!
“We support you not to win Broncos tickets, but because what you do is important,” said Tom Hindorff as he accepted a pair of AFC Divisional Playoff tickets to the Broncos vs Colts game on Friday. Long time Alzheimer’s Association supporters and Broncos fans, Tom and his wife Jenny were quick to enter a ticket giveaway held by the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter.
Following Pat Bowlen’s Alzheimer’s announcement at the start of the NFL season, along with the subsequent impact of the Bronco’s community partnership on Alzheimer’s awareness throughout Colorado, the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter wanted to reward Broncos fans for their support of the Alzheimer’s cause. For four days last week, Broncos fans and Alzheimer’s Association supporters were encouraged to sign up for the Association’s monthly email newsletter, for a chance to win a pair of AFC Divisional Playoff tickets. Thanks to television coverage by 9News and social media coverage by the Denver Broncos, word of available Broncos tickets quickly circulated and the response was overwhelming. More than 8,450 people signed up for a chance to win tickets. On Tuesday, the day the giveaway was announced, alz.org/co attracted 7,720 visitors. On the same day in 2014, the website had 248 visitors. Delighted by the positive response to the giveaway by Broncos fans, a generous longtime Alzheimer’s Association supporter donated an additional four tickets! Bringing the total tickets available to eight.
On Friday, the four lucky winners were announced. The winners could not have been more excited after receiving a personal call from the Broncos and the Alzheimer’s Association. Tom Hindorff remarked that winning the tickets was, “a dream come true for me and my wife. We even found child care and will wear orange and purple to thank the Alzheimer’s Association.”
Although many fans left Sports Authority Field feeling deflated on Sunday night following the Broncos’ loss to the Colts, for those who won tickets while supporting a great cause the loss was easier to stomach. “Even though the Broncos lost, we still had a lot of fun,” said Edward Rose.
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.
The annual Alzheimer’s Association Memories in the Making (MIM) Art Auction was held at the DTC Hyatt and raised more than $250,000 to support families living with Alzheimer’s as well as research to find better treatments and eventually a cure. This year’s theme, An Elegant Evening of Art, was well emphasized throughout the second floor lobby of the Hyatt with stunning framed watercolors created by those with Alzheimer’s disease and original works donated by local professional artists.
Many returning professionals were in attendance this year including Martin Lambuth, Margaretta Caesar, Cheryl St. John, Tammi Otis, Lisa Hut, Frances Gottlieb, Al Murphy, Jean Shom, Amy Winter, Marin Dobson, Shawn Shea, Anne Aguirre, Kay Landen, and Madeleine O’Connell. Duke Beardsley’s painting of cowboys on canvas and Roxanne Rossi’s gorgeous black and white laquer dress titled Afternoon Tea were two of the pairings that saw rapid fire bidding from the more than 550 guests during the live auction hosted by 9News anchor Kim Christiansen. Her son Tanner helped out the cause by walking the catwalk with artwork while mom shared poignant stories about the paintings and the artists who created them.
The highest bid ever for the Association was $13,250 for Beardsley’s piece paired with a watercolor of two cowboys, while Rossi’s dress and its pairing of a Red Strapless Dior Dress went to Stephen Koch and Donna Herlehey for $4100. Other high bids included: Gary and Donna Antonoff on a series of watercolors titled Roses paired with Love for Growth by artist Laurie Maves. Jim and Zodie Livingston whose successful bid earned them the watercolor titled Aspen paired with a beautiful oil painting by Margaretta Caesar.
It was an amazing evening celebrating and honoring the work of artists who paint in our Memories in the Making (MIM) program, which is offered at no cost across the state. We are so thankful to all of the sponsors and bidders in our silent and live auctions. We are also especially grateful to the families who donated the MIM watercolors as well as all the wonderful professional artists who donated an original work for pairing with an Alzheimer’s watercolor or for contributing a palette for our silent auction.
Other special guests attending the Denver auction this year included Sunday Mann, Susie Frey, Ted Shipman, Alex Speros, Dr. Gene Eby, Tim and Kathy VanMeter, Lisa and Ed Hut, Dick and Norma Auer, Courtney Sipperley, Leslie Liedtke, Sally Haas, Bonnie Perkins, Julie and Rich Wham, Mike Spriggs, William Brummett, Gary, Sandy and Scott Autrey, Barbara and Lee Mendel, Melinda Quiat, and Alzheimer’s Association Board members Tom O’Donnell, Tom Hurley and his wife Jeri, Adam Duerr and his wife Ali, Sid Okes and his guest Shari Gillespie, JJ Jordan and her husband Tim, Kristy Tochihara, Venetia Marshall, Chris Binkley and his wife Linda, Linda Peotter and her husband Jeff, Board Chair Sarah Lorance and her husband Michael, Association President and CEO Linda Mitchell and her husband Ken Neeper.
My mom has always loved Christmas, everything about it; the decorations, the cookies, the songs, the Christmas themed sweaters (that I would roll my eyes at), and especially the family time and traditions. She really made the whole season so joyous for all of us with her child-like excitement. So it was heart-breaking when 6 years ago on December 26th, she turned to me and said ‘I can’t wait for Christmas this year.’ We had just celebrated yesterday, but it was clear she had already forgotten about it; she had forgotten about our time together as a family, about the gifts we had given her, and the traditional family dinner we all shared. She was not able to experience the joy that she typically had before Alzheimer’s. I could not manage to tell her that we already celebrated, so I turned away as tears came to my eyes and responded with, ‘I know. I can’t wait either. I love Christmas.’
I wanted her to be able to hold onto that hope and excitement even for just a minute. I was so sad for her and for our family and I’d like… no I need to see a world where conversations like this don’t happen.
So that is why, this year, I am again participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Blondes vs. Brunettes, a nationwide women’s flag-football league created to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. I am involved in honor of my mother who is slipping away from us and in support of my father who took on the extremely difficult and emotionally challenging job of caregiver for so many years. I am taking on this challenge with the hope that other families will not have to live with Alzheimer’s.
My team and I are training, fundraising, and preparing for game day, but win or lose, our true goal is a world without Alzheimer’s! This event gives me hope and I can’t wait for the game-day! Go BruCrew!
– Cari Mackay, YPAAC Board of Directors Chair
The Brunettes will take on the Blondes this Saturday, June 14th at 11 a.m.
The game is being played at University of Denver Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
To purchase tickets click here.