Cody Kohlhagen’s first passion is being on a board – skate, surf, wind, long…it doesn’t matter. And his true calling is caring for the elderly, particularly those living with dementia.
Cody was hoping to blend his two loves during the Sunday, June 14, Ride to End ALZ biking event in Fort Collins that would raise funds for research to find a cure for the deadly disease. But the coronavirus pandemic had other plans.
The 34-year-old memory support director at Northglenn Heights Assisted Living isn’t easily deterred and neither is the Alzheimer’s Association. Registrants for the Ride to End ALZ will spend June 14 taking solitary rides in their area, so you’ll see Cody on his longboard, making a 25-mile trek from Northglenn to his company’s sister community, Caley Ridge, in Englewood, raising money along the way.
While Cody was majoring in psychology at Colorado Christian University, his father would joke that Cody was minoring in boarding.
“With a skateboard and a snowboard, I’m never bored,” is one ‘Codyism’ the former Californian lives by.
But Cody’s passion for boarding has been equaled by the rewards he has found in working with the elderly.
“I knew I wanted to help people,” said Cody. After graduation in 2008, he began working with babies, toddlers and adolescents. Then he ventured into senior care and hasn’t looked back.
“We look at each other like family,” he said of the residents at Northglenn Heights. “I try to give the residents what they want, as well as things they wouldn’t think to ask for. And they have a vested interest in me and what I do. When I talk about skateboarding, they get excited.”
On a summer day in 2015, he brought some of the residents to a local skating park to hand out drinks to kids skating there. And he’s helped a number of residents – from age 80 to one particular 101-year-old – to set foot for the first time on a skateboard.
“I’m blessed at a young age to do what I love,” said Cody. “And in return, I’m loved by our residents. They know that I skate, and they know that I will be skating for them”
Kohlhagen has seen far too many of his residents – his “family” – living with Alzheimer’s disease. He’s hoping his 25-mile longboarding excursion helps raise awareness of the disease that affects nearly 6 million people in the U.S., including 76,000 Coloradans. He’ll be joined on his trek by Jennifer Bettridge, the daughter of a Northglenn Heights resident, who will bike, and by Jason Brown, another Northglenn Heights staff member, on inline skates.
To learn more about Cody Kohlhagen’s trip in support of the Alzheimer’s Association, go to his Ride to End Alz page
. And for more about how you can join the Ride to End ALZ, go to www.alz.org/ride
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.