When her mother started experiencing memory loss at age 68, Cheryl Gross took Nadine Pike to see a neurologist. The diagnosis was Alzheimer's, and the news was devastating. As the disease progressed, Cheryl left her job to help her father take care of her mother.
Nadine passed away at age 75 in 2011. Heartbroken but undeterred, Cheryl turned her love for her mother into a deep passion for fighting Alzheimer's. The Walnut Creek, California, resident has been involved with the Alzheimer's Association since 2008, when she first participated in Walk to End Alzheimer's®. In October 2015 Cheryl and her now-late husband, Bob, made a $50,000 online matching gift challenge in Nadine's honor. Donors matched the pledge in nine days.
Buoyed by this success, Cheryl has committed to doing even more. She pledged to make a gift of $1 million for Alzheimer's research if other donors stepped up and met her challenge with an equal amount. Her matching gift has generated more than $7 million for the Association's International Research Grant Program and other initiatives.
"Everyone seems to know someone who has been affected by this disease," Cheryl says. "And when you hear their stories — the pain they're going through — you just have to get involved and do what you can to help stop this devastation. It makes me happy to know I can have an impact."