National Volunteer Week is April 18-24, 2021. Each day this week, we'll be spotlighting one of our rockstar volunteers here at the South Carolina Chapter.
Meet Allison Acree, our Walk to End Alzheimer's Committee Co-Chair in Charleston, SC.
Q: What brought you to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association?
A: My involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association has spanned almost 10 years, motivated by both my personal and professional lives. Like so many others, I’ve lost loved ones to Alzheimer’s disease. My “Grandmommy” passed in 2017 and my “Meme” succumbed to the disease almost exactly a year later in 2018. The many years prior, I witnessed my parents become caregivers and scramble to find resources and educate themselves about how to navigate what became their new norm. The Alzheimer’s Association was critical in helping our entire family each step of the way, and I want every other family in similar situations to be able to take advantage of the amazing resources available through their local chapters.
In my professional life, I have worked with the Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center for 7 years, specializing in Alzheimer’s research. In this capacity, I’ve developed a strong passion for educating the aging population about the importance of research participation, regular memory screenings, and knowing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Without clinical trials participation, we will not find a cure for this devastating disease. The Alzheimer’s Association has always been a partner in this mission so getting more involved as a volunteer to reach even more people throughout the community and increase awareness was a no brainer.
Q: What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
A: I currently serve as the co-chair of the planning committee for the Charleston area Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
A: My favorite part of my role with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is being able to collaborate and connect with people and community organizations who share the same mission – a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementias. The camaraderie you form with all of the walk teams and volunteers is so powerful, especially on walk day when all of our “why I walk”s come together as a singular goal to make a major impact in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. Anyone who has participated in a local walk knows how incredibly special this event is and I’m so grateful to be part of it!
Q: What aspect of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
A: The ability to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s and the resources available in our community is such a huge part of the volunteer experience. Any time I’m able to educate someone about an aspect of the disease they may not have been aware of, or tell them about a research opportunity or offering from the Alzheimer’s Association that they weren’t previously taking advantage of, the impact is monumental. It’s all about getting information to as many people as possible, which not only results in more individuals taking an active role in joining us to fight for the cause, but it also means that more people are getting the help they need while dealing with the disease.
Q: If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
A: Join the volunteer family! WE NEED YOU! More volunteers means increased capacity to provide resources, education, and assistance to all of the people in our community impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Also, since there are so many volunteer opportunities within the Association, you’re able to take your own strengths, interests, and time constraints/availability into consideration when looking for a volunteer area that fits well. Playing a more active role in the fight to end Alzheimer’s has been such a rewarding experience for me and for so many others, and I plan to continue volunteering as long as they’ll let me!
Thank you, Allison, for your dedication to those living with Alzheimer's and for your work advancing research through clinical trials. We appreciate your leadership through our Walk to End Alzheimer's
Volunteers are truly at the heart of our work at the Alzheimer's Association, and we invite you to lend your unique talents to the fight to #ENDALZ! View local volunteer opportunities and get started.
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.