For Cindi Crane of Dataw Island, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s started at her front door.
Cindi has been participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s for four years. Her first two walks were at Riverfront Park in Charleston, SC. When the pandemic precluded any large in-person gatherings in 2020, she chose to walk in her own neighborhood, and she invited her neighbors to join her. It worked out so well that she opted to “Walk From Home” again this fall, and her community was excited to be involved.
“I’ve noticed that people are even more engaged because they see we’re doing it each year,” said Cindi.
On their walk day, neighbors shared their stories of how they’ve been impacted by Alzheimer’s or other dementia and why the cause is important to them. Others who weren’t able to walk stopped by on golf carts to turn in donations. Together, they've raised over $4,100
for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Charleston.
Cindi walks in memory of her mother, pictured at right. “My Mom, Carolyn Varner, was the most talented person I have ever known,” Cindi said. “She could make anything, and did. Her last 10 years or so she focused on quilts and her mantra was to wrap the world in love, one quilt at a time.”
Cindi’s mother developed Alzheimer’s that seemed to be brought on by head injuries.
“It’s definitely the hardest things we’ve ever been through,” Cindi said. As her mother’s symptoms grew more noticeable, her mood changed. She was frequently grumpy, and she was unsure who Cindi was. She also lost a hundred pounds over the course of a year.
Despite all of this, Cindi recalled that her mother’s doctor never really guided them on what to expect or where to find resources that might help. “We just thought, ‘This is just the way it’s going to be,’” she said.
Cindi spent a lot of time worried about how the stress of caregiving might be impacting her father’s health. He eventually ended up in the hospital, and both parents moved into an assisted living community when her dad started rehab following a surgery. It was hard on the whole family, especially when her mother couldn’t understand what was going on.
Sadly, it was around this time that Cindi’s mom had brain aneurisms and a stroke, and she was placed into hospice care. She passed away on Mother’s Day in 2018 at just 77 years old.
“We never left her side, but she never woke up,” Cindi said. “She was my best friend, and I talked to her at least once a day for most of my life. I miss her terribly.”
Today, Cindi hopes to help other families by raising funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. She is passionate about raising awareness in her own community, where there are many retirees. She made a point of sharing the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
in thank-you emails to those who supported the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year, and she hopes to do more to help people connect with much needed support.
“I tell people to be patient. Right now they might be hard to live with—grumpy, mean, or frustrated. But it’s mainly because they are scared or frustrated themselves,” Cindi says. “You never really know what’s going on in the brain.”
It only take one person to make a difference. Cindi did, and you can, too!
Whether you missed this year’s in-person Walk to End Alzheimer’s events or you’re still working to achieve your fundraising goal, now is a great time to Walk From Home.
Pick a day with nice weather and invite your family, friends or neighbors to join you in a community stroll to enjoy the fall foliage. Ask that everyone wear purple to honor and remember those living with Alzheimer’s, and have your own personal purple parade. Or maybe plan a post-turkey ramble with your family on Thanksgiving to burn off that pumpkin pie!
In any case, you’ll find tools in your online Participant Center that will help you raise funds and awareness. Just log in at alz.org/walk
—or if you’re just getting started, register for the Walk location nearest you
to access your personal fundraising page and tools.
In your Participant Center, you’ll find customizable business cards you can print with your walk website link for donations, as well as flyers with Alzheimer’s stats and more! You can also connect your fundraising website to a Facebook fundraiser to ask for donations on social media.
It’s not too late to earn your Walk to End Alzheimer’s t-shirt by raising $100 – plus earn an additional incentive prize with further fundraising
! The deadline for donations is December 31, 2021, so there’s still plenty of time.
Have a question about Walking From Home? Need help getting started? Email us at email@example.com.
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.