When Dennis Moore, former U.S. Representative for Kansas's 3rd Congressional District, learned that he had Alzheimer's, he and his wife Stephene chose to take what was a difficult diagnosis and turn it into positive energy to support the Alzheimer's Association - Heart of America Chapter.
"It is the hand that was dealt to me. We're going to make something positive out of something negative. You can find some good hopefully in anything. This is the right thing to do."
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The Moores have an "everything happens for a reason" attitude. Stephene says, "We realized we needed a connect somewhere. We were public people, and as public people, you like the public attention - that's part of the deal. But when something like this happens, you want a lot of privacy, so we struggled for a while on how to ask for help and maintain privacy at the same time." That's when Stephene and Dennis called Debra Brook, executive director of the Heart of America Chapter. The Moores were not only searching for information, but they were also looking for a way to help, a way to make a difference in the lives of those with Alzheimer's.
During their initial visit to the Heart of America Chapter, it was clear to Stephene and Dennis that the Chapter office was hurting for space. They learned that Chapter support groups, Memories in the Making sessions, staff meetings, educational classes and other group activities all share one common room, making it difficult to schedule and accommodate important programs. Ironically, before meeting the Moores, Brook had already begun to investigate moving the office to neighboring space, but she was unsure if the new space would actually increase capacity enough to warrant the move. "My initial thoughts were to move the staff and the Mollie Tivol Alzheimer's Family Resource Center to the neighboring space and keep part of our current space for expanded community programs, but I wasn't sure if we could commit to the cost of making that happen in the current economy," says Brook.
That's when a light bulb went off with the Moores. They were looking for a connect and the Chapter was looking for a solution.
The Moores graciously stepped up and offered to help raise the funds necessary to maintain a portion of the original office space and convert it to a full functioning education and awareness center.
"I want this awareness initiative to focus on the younger population, not just those with early onset. Don't wait until your 50's or until you think you are experiencing problems. Start dealing with the issues of brain health in your 20's and 30's," says Stephene.
The Moores have a big fundraising task at hand, but they are geared up for it. They are simply transferring the energy of working for others and opening their hearts to a new cause now - that of Alzheimer's. They are planning private fundraisers, but also welcome your personal donations to this effort.
In his natural comedic way, Dennis says, "We need to find a cure....like by next week." Although the "by next week" part might be a little difficult, advocacy just got a little easier with people like Stephene and Dennis Moore at the helm of the Education and Awareness Initiative. We thank and honor Stephene and Dennis for bravely charging forward to, as Dennis says, "make something positive happen here."