Home | News | Events | Press | Contact  

About UseNewsletterMessage BoardsAction CenterAdvocateWalk to End Alzheimer’sShopDonate

Find your chapter:

search by state

In My Community

Weekly e-news

We will not share your information.

Champions at Work
Text Size controlsNormal font sizeMedium font sizeLarge font size

Rhode Island Chapter Honors 2014 Class of Alzheimer's Champions


A champion is someone who takes action to learn more about Alzheimer's disease and the Association and thus increases the awareness of the disease.

We need CHAMPIONS to MOVE the cause forward, OPEN hearts and minds and be a VOICE for those affected by Alzheimer's disease.  By joining our campaign, you are supporting the 25,000 individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families and friends the Rhode Island Chapter serves.

"Champions are all around us - they are the researchers, caregivers, students, friends, family, loved ones with Alzheimer's disease and regular people who are reaching out, raising funds and increasing awareness."


Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter celebrates 25 years at Annual Meeting

It was a night to celebrate 25 years of service for the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode island Chapter, while also honoring some very special volunteers. In fact in 1989, the Rhode Island Chapter was formed by local family caregivers and health professionals who were also volunteers. Since that time the Rhode Island Chapter has become part of the National Alzheimer’s Association, comprising more than 80 chapters and service areas united through a common mission. Our purpose is to further the strategic goals of the Association in local communities by enhancing care and support, increasing concern of Alzheimer’s disease and awareness of the Association, advancing research, advocating for those affected by the disease, and increasing revenue to support the Association’s overall mission.

It has been a year of firsts and many accomplishments:

The RI State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders is being implemented and Rhode Island Chapter staff have been an integral part of the planning and recommendations.

The Hope Act has been introduced which would create a package of services aimed at an accurate and timely diagnosis, and care planning for that person in the medical records.

Rhode Island’s Family Caregiver’s Bill is being proposed for consideration by other states.

There are more Alzheimer’s Advocates than ever before. With the help of our board members and advocacy committee we doubled our numbers in Rhode Island. In April, 900 advocates, 3 from Rhode Island gathered in Washington DC to educate lawmakers about the disease and the need for increased funding.

The 2014 Facts and Figures revealed new facts about Alzheimer’s disease:
• Two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women
• Women in their 60’s are 2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their life than breast cancer
• Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death, but the 5th for those 65 and older. However, it may cause even more deaths than official sources recognize.

For the first time ever, the Alzheimer’s Association announced that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. Everyone who has a brain is at risk to develop Alzheimer’s, but everyone can help fight it. The Alzheimer’s Association has launched a new Brain campaign, “your brain matters” and “the brains behind saving yours” encouraging everyone to share their story.

To coincide with June as Alzheimer’s month, there is a new National signature event called The Longest Day. From sunrise to sunset teams around the globe joined together to honor those facing Alzheimer’s disease with passion, and endurance doing what they love for 16 hours and raising funds in the process. At the Rhode Island Chapter we held an on-line Sports Memorabilia Auction. Although this was our first year and first attempt at an on-line auction, we still raised over $600.

Another exciting thing happened in June with Alex and Ani. Alex and Ani Charity by Design, known for creating jewelry that is focused on the power of positive energy and made with eco-friendly recycled materials, has designed a signature charm bangle to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. The charm bangle was inspired by the Promise Garden flowers that we display at our Walk to End Alzheimer’s in honor of our loved ones. The charm features a sunflower design and is available in silver or gold and was launched on June 11, 2014. The charm will be sold in more than 1000 retail stores and 36 Alex and Ani stores through December 2015 with 20% of the proceeds to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. The relationship with Alex and Ani began through coordination with the Rhode Island Chapter.

Aside from all the accomplishments mentioned that night, the Annual Meeting is also a time to honor those who make a difference at the Rhode Island Chapter, the wonderful volunteers, Alzheimer’s champions, and board members. This year, the Rhode Island Chapter awarded Volunteer Recognition certificates to the following volunteers: Vivian Carroll, John D’Amato, Priscilla Drummond, Judy Enos, Libby Gaitskill, Joan Kent, Larry Kent, Marian Lee, Inglish Morgan Gardner, Phd, Shade Olajide, Linnette Tammelleo,  and Laura Tetreault. We also said farewell to Board member Gary Epstein-Lubow, MD, employed by Butler Hospital, who served on the board for 2 years. He was also a dedicated member on the Research Committee for the Alzheimer’s State Plan and helped on our Advocacy Committee.

We also said farewell to two other board members who completed their term of 6 years, a former Board President, Christine Bush of Scott & Bush Ltd. who chaired the Compensation Committee, and was a committed philanthropist during her term. She is also a member of the Advocacy Committee and is presently the Ambassador to Senator Jack Reed for our organization.

Akshay Talwar, owner of Briarcliffe Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation, Briarcliffe Gardens Memory Care Assisted Living, and The New Cottage at Briarcliffe Garden has completed his term on the Board of Directors. We thank Akshay Talwar for bringing his knowledge of long-term care, financial expertise, and generosity as Platinum Sponsor for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the last 7 years.

Along with saying good bye to the previous board, we welcomed the new board members: Vice President, Pamela Hallagan, Treasurer, Erica Olobri, CPA and new board members Laura Stanton, MD, Lori Daiello, PharmD., SCM and Stacey Fields, CPA.

And lastly, we thanked our Alzheimer’s Champions at the meeting. The definition of a Champion according to the Rhode Island Chapter is“champions are all around us – they are the researchers, caregivers, students, friends, family, loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, and regular people who are reaching out, raising funds, and raising awareness to move our cause forward.”

This year we honored 3 young people who did extraordinary things to raise funds and awareness.

Michelle LaFrance was introduced to the Rhode Island Chapter as an intern from Providence College and completed her senior project with us. She organized a Walk to Remember in honor of her Dad and raised $5,000 for the Chapter. She also graciously told her story about “Caregiving for her Dad” to a group of 100 attendees at our Reason to Hope luncheon. When Michelle finished speaking, there was not a dry eye in the house. Michelle LaFrance is now employed by the Living Rite Centers.

Devin Beck climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in honor of his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  At the time of his training, he worked as an Assistant pro at Wannamoisett Country Club, was planning his wedding and still had time to raise over $3,000 for the Chapter. He also donated items for our auction and participated in The Longest Day doing a relay of pushups with his team for 16 hours.

Ryan Whalen is the Food Service Director for Genesis HealthCare Warren Skilled Nursing. Ryan and his Dad, Mike Whalen, a Police Chief in Dennis, MA decided to backpack the Appalachian Trail as a fundraiser. They compared their hike and how difficult it was to what caregivers and people with the disease must go through each day.  They completed 30 miles in 4 days which was “pretty good for the first time out. We will go again in September to complete the rest.” Thanks for raising $1500 for the Chapter.

All in all it was an amazing 25 years, and a truly wonderful year for the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter.  If you would like to get more involved or attend our programs or events, please contact Camilla Farrell, cfarrell@alz.org or call our chapter office at 1-800-272-3900.



Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.