I have a lot of childhood memories of my grandma, but a couple of my favorites are that she knew how to magically bring a fly back to life (a talent not many people wish for) and she let me order a taco salad whenever we were out to eat (morning, noon or night) despite my parents objections! Sadly, as an adult I don’t really know her. She’s still here, in the final chapters of her life struggling with the harsh reality of Alzheimer’s. She’s fought the disease for almost 10 years and is why I’m an active volunteer at the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association.
This past week was our walk, our largest Alzheimer’s fundraiser in Central Ohio. Previously in my #50CharityChallenge I’ve volunteered a day or afternoon at an event, but the Alzheimer’s Association has been a labor of love. I’ve been a member of the walk committee for 4 years and took on the duty of Logistics chair this year; assisting the committee and staff in organizing and planning the event.
The walk was an amazing day. Thousands of individuals came together, making memories and supporting those who no longer can. I could talk for pages about the event and what I gained from the experience but the thing I cherish most is the relationships. Five years ago I started volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Association by simply stuffing envelopes for their annual campaign. It really feels like yesterday. Over the past five years I’ve been privileged to get to know the staff and committee members. Some have become friends, I know their families and I feel very lucky for the experience. Relationships are what it’s really all about. It’s why I keep going back. Yes, we’ve had our moments. For anyone that’s worked on a committee you know it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes you disagree and have to compromise, but it’s typically because people are passionate about the cause.
I believe most of the time our volunteer activities and charities pick us; we don’t always get the chance to pick them. I probably wouldn’t know much about the Alzheimer’s Association if it wasn’t for my grandma, but through the experience I’ve met some amazing people and gained some unbelievable friends in the process. So it looks like my grandma is still giving me a few more memories as I try to find a cure for her horrible illness.
Get out there and make some memories of your own today! I’d love to hear about them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then!