One of the most life-altering events I have experienced thus far came in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s and his journey through the disease and ultimately his death touched me in a very deep way. He died Easter morning three years ago with family having been there constantly remembering and honoring his life.
After his death, I wanted to become involved in ending Alzheimer’s so I sought out the Alzheimer’s Association. My experience at the Alzheimer’s Association has been fantastic. It has been such an honor to be around people so devoted to ending Alzheimer’s and supporting those with the disease and their families. As a volunteer, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a support group leader for the adult child caregiver’s group and later for a teen group.
Right around the same time I happened to go to the Education Symposium that the Alzheimer’s Association presents every year and saw a table about a program called the ALZ STARS. This program featured opportunities for people to enter into marathons, half marathons, triathlons, and other activities to raise money. I was hooked by the idea and entered into my first triathlon. Why a triathlon? For years I had said that I would never do a triathlon because of fear of one and two because I thought that it would be way too hard. So what better way to honor the memory of my grandfather than going on a journey that is scary and hard? I successfully finished and as the saying goes the rest is history…. My life changed and I have since continued on in my triathlon journey which has cumulated this season with my first Ironman still honoring my grandfather and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Charity Miles has only sweetened the journey. I learned about Charity Miles when I was reading a copy of Runner’s World. I downloaded it immediately after reading that section because it was such a perfect way to keep bingeing awareness of the Alzheimer’s Association when a workout was posted on my Facebook page. Additionally, I could keep raising funds all along my triathlon journey. Bonus – More people become aware of Charity Miles and will hopefully give it a try to find the cause that means something to them. I love inspiring others to get out to find a form of exercise that makes them happy and a cause that inspires them.
My goal in raising funds and awareness has always been and always will be to help bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease. I know from personal experience what it feels like to watch someone I love go through this disease and I never want any family/friend/acquaintance to lose someone to Alzheimer’s. Whenever I step out my door to go for a run or go for a bike ride turning on my Charity Miles allows me to work towards my goal and reminds me that even a simple step has the power to change the course of the future.