Imagine you’re walking across an alien landscape where nothing is familiar.
You spot no landmarks; see no recognizable faces—even the sounds you hear are completely foreign. Alone, confused and frustrated, you stare at the confusing panorama, unsure of what to do next.
For a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, these feelings of chaos and confusion are frighteningly commonplace.
That description, from a caregiver website, reflects what many residents of St. Ann’s face every day.
Eight out of ten of our residents have some form of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. We care for them every day, and we see the effects firsthand. That’s why we put our heart into the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Held in cities across the country, it’s the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
This year, more than 200 walkers represented St. Ann’s Community—the biggest team in the local walk. Under the leadership of our venerable team captain Rola O’Meally, RN, we raised over $26,000, making us once again the top corporate fundraiser. I couldn’t be prouder.
Our annual participation in the walk is a big part of who we are as an organization. To paraphrase this year’s guest speaker Jim Gulley, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago, we’re focused on doing something that is significant in changing the future for our next generation.
Not only is it the right thing to do, there are unintended consequences as well. Being part of a team and working together for a cause contributes to the sense of family among St. Ann’s employees:
- Departments have friendly competitions to see who can raise the most money.
- Purple ribbons, beads and bracelets are proudly worn by those who make donations to earn “casual dress” days.
- A pep rally—this year featuring a steel drum band—is held the day before the walk.
- And on walk day, employees and their families enjoy the good will and camaraderie of this shared experience. (The summer-like weather this year didn’t hurt either.)
The result? An incredible amount of money is raised for the Alzheimer’s Association. And our people, who know all too well the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s on those who live with it and their families, become a little bit closer. That’s a worthwhile endeavor.
– Michael E. McRae
President and CEO, St. Ann’s Community
This year, more than 200 walkers represented St. Ann’s Community—the biggest team in the local walk.