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Rhode Island Chapter Honors 2013 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 Champions, Dr. Inglish Gardner and Cheryl Bestwick with Executive Director Donna McGowan at the 2013 Annual Meeting.



Cheryl Bestwick - Cheryl is a caregiver for her husband Hal Bestwick.

"My husband, Hal Bestwick, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease at 55 years young in 2004. Today, he is in a nursing home. I am his wife and devoted caregiver along with our daughter, but through this process, we have learned so much more about ourselves. Hal and I were introduced to the Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter in 2008 by joining the Live & Learn Program in Warwick. Live & Learn, now known as the Early Stage Social Engagement Program, changed our lives. The program focuses on maintaining the quality of one's life while learning ways to compensate for changes in memory through enhancement activities, physical exercise, social interaction, camaraderie and just plain fun. The program also provided my daughter and I some much needed time alone."


Dr. Inglish Gardner, PhD, HS-BCP - Adjunct Faculty, Psychology & Human Services, Community College of Rhode Island

"As an educator and certified human services practitioner, I have a responsibility to introduce my students to the human side of service, through an applied experience designed to help them understand the power of their contribution as it relates to their ability to change lives as a human service agent. In the beginning, I always get some push back regarding why a field experience is needed and for some why the Alzheimer's Association of Rhode Island and not another nonprofit? My response to them is simple; responsibility and awareness. Someome you love will know someone who will be impacted by this life altering disease. It is our responsibility to learn how to help others live with dignity while others are searching for a cure. Although in the beginning some may struggle with connecting folding one hundred pamphlets and stuffing one thousand envelopes with Introduction to Gerontology or Foundations of Teaching and Learning, but something amazing happens, they experience the dedicated staff and other committed volunteers who share their purpose and passion, revealing the truth behind changing lives begins with awareness, the type of awareness that begins with folding pamphlets.  The responsibility of educating the next generation of social workers, educators, researchers, administrators and service providers is exciting, but nothing is more moving than to have a student return from their experience at the Alzheimer's Association and say, I have a responsibility to know how this disease may impact a colleague or a student in my class or day care. I didn't realize how important my five hours of service really is to the larger community. They may leave my class without fully understanding how social cognitive theory or social learning theory relates to their subject, but they will leave knowing they made a difference. An important difference."



Employees at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island recently donated $1000 to the Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter through the recently discontinued Coins for a Cause employee contribution program. Through this program, all Blue Cross employees are invited to nominate local nonprofit organizations to be selected in an online vote where employees choose organizations that will receive the contributions for that period. For the last seven years, Blue Cross employees have donated approximately $157,000 through this program, which supported dozens of local agency programs.


Alzheimer's Association

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