National Volunteer Week is April 18-24, 2021. Each day this week, we've featured one of our rockstar volunteers here at the South Carolina Chapter, and our final spotlight today is an inspiring one! Diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer's at age 45, Missy is fighting back by raising awareness through Walk to End Alzheimer's.
Meet Missy Callahan, Co-Chair of the Mission Subcommittee for the Columbia Walk to End Alzheimer's
Q: What brought you to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association?
A: The psychologist that administered my neuropsych testing and helped me to terms with my diagnosis was retiring. She mentioned to me that I should contact my local office of the Alzheimer’s Association. If was about a week before Covid lockdown that I visited the Columbia office. I met Alexis Watts (Midlands Director of Development) and the rest has been history. It has been a lifeline for me. I have met so many people who either have Alzheimer's or work daily advocating for those of us who do. The virtual [early stage dementia] meetings with Jamie Guay (Program Director) have been so insightful to me and such a blessing. I have met friends all over the state that battle Alzheimer's with me and I am so thankful that the Alzheimer's Association has brought us together and gives us a platform and resources to fight this disease.
Q: What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
A: I was most involved with the Columbia Walk of 2020. With everything being virtual it was so simple and yet so complicated all at the same time. I look forward to a normal time to be able to meet with others like me and caregivers.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
A: Meeting others like me who understand my daily struggles and advocate for a cure.
Q: What aspect of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
A: I feel that sharing my story with others has opened so many eyes and minds that Alzheimer's doesn’t just affect 80 year olds. I am living life with Alzheimer's.
Q: If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
A: I would say that their time and effort would be so very much appreciated. There are so many opportunities available with the Alzheimer's Association.
Missy, thank you so much for making time to volunteer, even while living with a dementia diagnosis. Your voice and your perseverence make such a big impact, opening so many eyes to what life with Alzheimer's disease can look like. Thank you for sharing your story and your passion with us!
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.