The Longest Day 2018
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Team Gajewski - A Walk to End Alzheimer's Family Reunion
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Abby Gajewski-Schwoch, a resident of River Hills Estates on Waukesha’s southwest side, remembers the first Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  It was held at Fowler Park in Oconomowoc that first year and raised $82,000.  Since that time, Abby’s team, Team Gajewski, has participated in all six Waukesha County Walk events.  “We lost both of my paternal grandparents to Alzheimer’s,” said Abby.  “I was so close to them when I was growing up.  They were like a second set of parents and attended all of our sporting events as kids.”  Abby and her extended family, including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins formed Team Gajewski and now make the Walk to End Alzheimer’s the official site of their family reunion each year.  “My grandma was actually still alive the first two years and she came to the Walk.  Having our whole family walk together was our way of showing our support for her.  It is important for someone to know that they are not alone in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  Without a doubt, this disease is so tough on the individual, but I also feel that it is equally tough on the families.”

Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. There are more than 15 million family and other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer in the United States.  Abby feels fortunate that her Aunt Bernie, a registered nurse, took charge of finding resources for the family.  Bernie also became the primary caregiver for the aging grandparents while they were still alive.  Sadly, last year, Bernie’s husband, Tom was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Now Team Gajewski has a renewed purpose to Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

In addition to participating in the event, Abby has served on the Walk Planning Committee for the last four years, heading up marketing and team recruitment.  She understands the importance of growing the Walk, and getting more individuals involved.  Sometimes that involves being creative.  “Last August my best friend, Stacey, held a Facebook event as a surprise for my birthday.  I woke up that morning with my email going crazy with $10 and $20 contributions to Team Gajewski.  The donations came from so many people who knew my grandparents.  It was the most humbling and sweetest birthday surprise ever!  We raised over $800 through the Facebook event that day.”

On Saturday, September 10th, Abby, her husband Mike, and children Turner and Wilson will put on their Purple and join family and best friends at Frame Park in Waukesha to support each other, raise funds and awareness, and fight for the end of a disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the nation.  Will you join them?


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.