Meet Melissa Denham: your 2023 Walk to End Alzheimer’s The Villages event chair

How has Alzheimer’s impacted your life?

Growing up I stayed with my great-grandparents during the day while my parents worked. My Papa had dementia and Parkinson’s disease and my Gramma was his primary caregiver. Some days he would know who I was, and the next not. Back then I wasn’t aware of why or what was happening, but I saw everything my Gramma did for him. Near the end of his journey, she did everything. That greatly impacted my life. I ended up going to nursing school and getting a job at The Villages Health where I created and piloted a dementia program that provides resources and support for the families impacted by this terrible disease. Now that program has touched over 600 families and my goal is to continue to support my patients though this journey. 

What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s? 

Given the demographics here in The Villages where I work, I heard about the Walk and immediately knew I had to be a part of it. We need to spread the awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We NEED A CURE! The only way to do that is to raise money to go towards research and clinical trials. I want to be able to witness the first survivor. 

How do you hope to support your community as a volunteer?

My goal as this year’s event chair is to bring more businesses in to learn about this disease and to create a dementia friendly community. I hope to be a resource for others and to share my passion on dementia awareness.

Why should someone sign up for Walk to End Alzheimer’s?

Everyone has been affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia somehow, sometime, some way. This event is to bring all those people together. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s bring awareness and support to those families affected and honor those that have passed away from it. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in The Villages?

First of all, I am a Florida Native, so I am quite partial to this area. The community is very dynamic in the fact that age doesn’t really matter. This community promotes activity and socialization for all ages. There is ALWAYS something to do here. The best part is you don’t have to drive too far to find what you’re looking for (restaurants, entertainment, shopping, etc). 

Make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Join us on Saturday, Oct. 7 at The Villages Polo Club for Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The event opens at 8 a.m. with the ceremony at 9 a.m. (Walk to follow). Learn more at

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