By Maddison Rametta
Kristal Cooley is serving as Community Engagement Chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Tallahassee.
Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease.
Kristal recently answered a few questions about his involvement in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
How has Alzheimer’s impacted your life? Alzheimer’s impacted my life from a very young age. I was close to my next door neighbor. She was like another grandmother to me and was a big part of my early childhood. Her name was Lorraine and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was nine or ten. She passed away from the disease when I was thirteen. I wish there were a cure back then to slow the disease…so we could have had more time.
What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s? I decided to participate in the walk in her memory and for the elderly population. I am a social worker that works with the older population. I want people to understand why this organization is so important, and to stress to the community the need for their support. There are not enough services for people diagnosed with dementia or their caregivers. I want to be the driving force that changes all that in my generation. I do everything because I care so passionately about this population.
How do you hope to support your community as a volunteer? I hope to support my community as a volunteer by advocating for the local families and caregivers that deal with any type of dementia. I want to bring more awareness to this disease and try to find ways to raise more funds. This could lead to more services and research breakthroughs that will trickle back down to my community.
Why should someone sign up for Walk to End Alzheimer’s? Someone should sign up for the walk-in memory of a loved one, represent someone they care for daily, represent this population or just to support this cause. We welcome everyone to join us in this fight, so someone at our walk can be the bearer of the first white flower.
How can someone get involved in Walk to End Alzheimer’s? Anyone can be involved by starting their own fund raiser or team by going through the Alzheimer’s Association website. People can sign up to volunteer, sponsor or donate in-kind items for the day of the walk. If people would like more information, then they will need contact their local walk manager for further details.
What is your favorite thing to do in your community? What do you like most about your community? My favorite thing to do in my community is going to all local events that support all aspects of diversity. The one thing I love about my community is the strength, support and love that is shown throughout this city.
Register today for a Walk near you at alz.org/cnfl/walk.