Andy Kerwin, Support Group Leader, Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sponsorship Chair, Former Walk to End Alzheimer’s Co-Chair, Lake Geneva, Walworth County
“I walk for my residents – to honor those who have passed and fight for those still with us.”
Andy has been a long-term volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association for over 17 years. “Alzheimer’s affects so many in our community,” says Andy. “The mission – research, support services, advocacy – are so vitally important.”
In 2003 he became a Caregivers Support Group Leader on a monthly basis. Andy owns Geneva Crossing Senior Community, which has independent living, assisted living and memory care. He works closely with residents and their families. “The navigation of going through the Alzheimer’s journey is a very difficult one for my residents and it aligns with the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Andy. “I not only want to help the person with dementia, but also their caregivers.”
In addition to leading a support group, Andy has been instrumental in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in Walworth County. In 2006 Andy remembers walking around the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Kenosha/Racine and commenting to his mother that, “wouldn’t it be great if there was a walk like this in Lake Geneva?” With this the seed was planted, and in 2007 when the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Board (which his sister Dr. Diana Kerwin was serving on) was looking for someone to start a Walk in Walworth County, Andy’s name came up.
Andy Co-Chaired the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Walworth County in 2007 and found that, “Lake Geneva and all of Walworth County embraced it.” The first year they had over 500 walkers and raised over 57,000. “It speaks to the generosity of Walworth County,” said Andy. “It is such a movement and we need to continue to focus our efforts. The Walks are like giant support group with legs. People have embraced it from the start.” Andy co-chaired the event for 11 years before stepping down. He still leads the sponsorship committee for the Walk and is actively involved.
“The amount of help you can provide by supporting the local Walk to End Alzheimer’s is profound – not only on a local level, but state and nation-wide as well,” says Andy. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a lighting rod to ignite the conversation and raise funds. It’s the neatest way to help those you know in your community, as well as helping those beyond. The ripple effect is so profound.”
He encourages others to volunteer. “You can become a true champion at whatever level you get involved,” says Andy. “I’ve met so many amazing people through the Walk experience. It’s a collective effort – it’s never just one person. That’s so reflective of the entire community coming together to create a world with no Alzheimer’s.”