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I always knew I wanted to be a social worker, and I wanted to work in an agency with a strong community-based mission. Luckily, in my second year of graduate school I was placed with the Alzheimer's Association as an intern. During the internship, I had the opportunity to work with the Memories in the Making© art program, a watercolor program for individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Thus began a fascination with the human brain and deep admiration for the strength and beauty of the human spirit.

By the time I earned my degree, I was working for the Association.Over time my skills and responsibilities increased, and I saw more and more the impact of education and support on families struggling to navigate the disease. I thought back to my own parents, who experienced the personality and behavioral changes of both stroke for my mother, and what was then called "hardening of the arteries" in Dad. It was a confusing and heartbreaking time in my life.

Now, on a daily basis, I try to be the person for others that my younger self needed when my parents, the people I knew best and loved most in the world, began to change in ways I could not understand. I can see the positive impact that knowledge and support can have on families struggling to cope. I continue to be very proud to be working in the community alongside my dedicated and energetic colleagues. We are united in our mission, and I know we won't quit fighting until Alzheimer's disease becomes a thing of the past.