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Dana Elmzen, Walk Committee, AIM Chair, Sheboygan

“I want to help educate Congress about the needs of those struggling with dementia, so they are thinking about them when they make decisions.”

Dana has been volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association for four years on the committee for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sheboygan County. Within the committee, she serves at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) Chair. “The passion and dedication of our volunteers is second to none,” says Dana. “Getting a group of people together who are different, but advocating for the well-being of those who raised us, is so fulfilling.”

Dana has attended several State Advocacy Days and went to Washington D.C. last year to advocate. “Any time I attend an Advocacy Day, it renews my spirit,” says Dana. “I get very emotional because people from all walks of life are joining together to advocate for the same thing.  When I was in D.C., I saw purple everywhere – your age or race didn’t matter, but we were all there for a common cause.  Alzheimer’s is non-partisan – you take red and blue and mix them together and you get purple – it affects everyone.”

Dana is the Director of Marketing and Development at Sheboygan Senior Communities. Her advocacy efforts help her be a champion for her residents. She is in the community and regularly attends town halls that state officials host in Sheboygan County.  She has invited members of Congress to visit her facility and says, “I want to help educate them about the needs of those struggling with dementia, so they are thinking about them when they make decisions.” As AIM Chair, she keeps the Walk Committee up-to-date on what “asks” are out to members of Congress, what the House and Senate are deliberating about and how Wisconsin officials have voted.
Dana has a personal connection to the cause, as her grandmother suffered from dementia before she passed away. “My passion is finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” says Dana. “The Alzheimer’s Association gives us the platform to make it happen.”

“I encourage everyone I know to start a walk team or join a committee,” says Dana. “I tell them that even if you aren’t personally affected, 1 out of 3 of your friends will be. It’s a very relatable disease and it’s the only leading cause of death without a cure, prevention or means to slow it down. We need more passionate volunteers helping to let people know that eventually this won’t be a death diagnosis.”