Normally I would be talking about a topic that could enhance seniors’ lies or their family’s by providing information to help guide them through the journey of life. This column will be a bit different as my time these last few months has been focused on another task.
In September 2010 and 2011, a number of folks from this area participated in the Kitsap Peninsula “Walk To End Alzheimer’s” in Silverdale and Bremerton. After the 2011 Walk, we got together and decided that there should be one on the North Olympic Peninsula (NOP) so more could participate. Well, that started the wheels in motion. In January of this year, several of us met and tossed around the idea of a NOP Walk. We signed on the dotted line with the Alzheimer’s Association and we were off and running. We assembled a steering committee of interested parties from the health care industry and individuals dedicated to the cause. From there it was like a snowball rolling downhill – it gathered momentum and there was no stopping it. Through eight months of meetings, finding sponsors, recruiting teams and walkers, fundraising, and yes – many sleepless nights – we persevered. The culmination of our efforts came to fruition this past Saturday, Sept. 29. It was finally the day of the 2012 NOP “Walk To End Alzheimer’s.”
What did we learn from our experience in putting together a “Walk To End Alzheimer’s”? We learned that the NOP community is like no other! The dedication of the steering committee was unlike any other I have participated in. Their focus was single-minded and amazing. The response from the community was overwhelming. The business community responded to our requests with open checkbooks and without hesitation. Organizations and individuals donated their talents for the cause. Families, organizations and individuals signed up and worked their fundraising talents.
And then came the time for the actual event. To make life a little easier for all of us, we decided to setup our venue (at the Boys & Girls Club in Sequim) the night before. The number of volunteers that responded to our pleas for help was amazing! We figured it would take three hours to set up – instead we were pretty well done in 1½ hours.
The morning of the Walk, again volunteers came pouring in. And the people who came to walk – they just kept coming in droves.
A big thank you goes out to the Alzheimer’s Association Western/Central WA Chapter for sending five staff members to help us – including the president and CEO of the Chapter, Bob LeRoy.
The Association had given us goals to reach and let me tell you, our committee had their fingers crossed the entire time hoping we could come close. The NOP Walk was asked to recruit 15 teams, 150 walkers and raise $18,470 in donations. Pretty lofty goals for our first time out. What was our end result? Hang on to your hats. More than 230 walkers, 24-plus teams, and we raised a grand total of $24,000. We were overwhelmed and very emotional with the outcome. And the best part – 100 percent of all donations received will go to the Alzheimer’s Association for research, support and education. A huge thank you goes out to the business community which stepped in and covered all of the expenses necessary to put on this Walk. Please support those businesses that helped make this Walk possible. A banner with all of their names is hanging in front of Discovery Memory Care on Washington Street in Sequim.
But we’re not done yet. Please continue to support our efforts by donating to the 2012 NOP Walk until the books close on Nov. 15. And then get ready for the 2013 Walk.
Thank you NOP community – you truly are one of a kind and the best! The steering committee, the businesses, the volunteers, the participants and the entire community wrapped their arms around this event. For more information, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-3402. Like us on Facebook at Alzheimer’s Walk of NOP.
Next month I will return to my regular format with some great information about home safety.
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