Jacqueline Fowler loves to bake. And she loved her grandpa. Now she’s found a way to combine her two passions.
Jacqueline estimates that she’s been participating in the Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s for 15 years or so – since her freshman year of high school. She agreed to accompany her aunt to the Walk to raise funds for research to find a cure in honor of Jacqueline’s grandfather, who was living with the disease.
“I was always grandpa’s girl,” says Jacqueline. “After he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my grandmother would go to the assisted living facility to feed him three meals a day. Then my aunt got me involved with the Walk and I started raising $25. Then $50. Then $100.”
Now, Jacqueline’s grandmother is beginning to show memory issues herself after she lost several brothers and a sister to the disease. And Jacqueline is concerned about her father as well. He hasn’t yet been tested for Alzheimer’s, but his father – Jacqueline’s favorite grandfather – has already passed from the disease.
So Jacqueline is stepping up to represent the entire family, and she’s taking skills she’s learned at home to make a difference.
I can get joy from baking and raise money for a good cause
“My mom has always been a baker,” says Jacqueline. “Baking is a stress reliever. Just being in the kitchen helps me get all my aggression out. I thought that if I can get joy from baking and raise money toward a good cause…”
One of her coworkers helped Jacqueline make the decision. Since Jacqueline is constantly talking about Alzheimer’s, last year one of her coworkers challenged Jacqueline to put her baking skills to the test and use them to raise funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“Why don’t you bake for us and we’ll pay you for it,” one told her. Breads, cookies, cheesecakes and fudge followed and, before she knew it, she’d raised $550 for the Walk to support research for a cure for Alzheimer’s.
“All the money I raise gets us one step closer to finding a cure,” she said.
Finding time to bake between her three jobs (full-time at Adams 12 School District, part-time at an auto parts store and part-time as a massage therapist) can be challenging, but Jacqueline has also found that having three jobs gives her easy access to multiple customers. One supervisor regularly buys $20 of fresh-baked bread every week. And Friday night car meets – a contact developed through her auto parts store job – usually go through two full coolers of baked goods.
And even as last year’s Denver Walk passed, her regular customers requested that she continue baking.
You can do better
This year, with the encouragement of her roommate, Jacqueline has upped her fundraising goal to $600, but she’s confident that she’ll pass that easily.
“You can do better,” her roommate assures her.
With memories of her grandfather urging her on, now joined by fears for her grandmother and father, Jacqueline undoubtedly will. She’s already registered her Walk team and downloaded the app so she can track her progress on her cell phone during the Sept. 19 Walk.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is doing important work,” she said. “The Association isn’t just raising money. They’re doing research to find a cure, and they’re there for the caregivers as well.”
And months ago, she informed all three of her employers that she needed Sept. 19 off.
This is the one day out of the entire year that I need to have off,” she said. “This is too important.”
To contribute to Fowler’s team in the Sept. 19 Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s, click here
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.