There’s a bond that connects Kate Staudenmaier with her late grandmother, Heidi McNeil. A native of Switzerland, Heidi met her future husband, Archie McNeil, while he was serving overseas during the Korean War. She was a hard worker, energetically tending to her award-winning garden, countless types of animals, and raising her three children after settling in rural Iowa.
Kate, the director of Marketing and Client Relations for Northwestern Mutual in Denver, mirrors her grandmother’s work ethic, and she continues to serve in memory of her grandmother, who passed away in late 2020 from Alzheimer’s disease.
Heidi and granddaughter Kate celebrated birthdays one day apart, and Kate remains inspired by the way her grandmother served as the “centerpiece of the household and community.” After the battle with Alzheimer’s diminished her memory, Heidi gradually lost the knowledge she acquired later in life. She enjoyed her last days in a memory care facility with Archie as her caretaker.
Heidi’s passing in 2020 gave Kate the motivation to take on Alzheimer’s disease and get more involved with it as a cause. The only leading disease without a prevention or cure, it inspires Kate and her family to get involved in raising awareness and take action.
Like her grandmother, Kate is a person of action, so she’s chosen to focus on raising funds to find a cure for the disease that afflicts 76,000 Coloradans among 6.5 million Americans.
This spring alone, Kate’s to-do list includes:
- Run in the Colfax Marathon (5k charity run) – completed May 14
- Rollerblade with a group of friends (“Heidi’s Heroes”) through Wash Park on Saturday, June 11, to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research
- Golfing in an Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day golf tournament on June 13. She’ll be joined by her mom, also named Heidi, who taught her golf. Heidi is flying in from Arizona for the occasion.
Separately, Kate and her brother, Jacob, a recent film graduate of Loyola Marymount University, have a shared devotion that secured a $10,000 grant to the Alzheimer’s Association from a family foundation established by their great aunt, who has ties to the disease.
This is Kate’s second year of being involved on The Longest Day committee for the Alzheimer’s Association, and she intends to continue pushing herself and those around her to raise awareness of this tragic disease until a cure can be found.
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.