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Julie Carroll, Community Educator, Shawano
“I wanted to take what I had learned through my mother’s illness and share it with others.”
Julie is a volunteer Community Educator for the Alzheimer’s Association for the past four years. Julie leads one presentation a month on Alzheimer’s and dementia-related topics including: 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, Dementia Conversations (driving, doctor visits, legal and financial), Healthy Living for your Brain and Body and Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior. “I love to watch the interaction of people in the classes and to see the lightbulb go off when they find out new things,” says Julie. “It’s very gratifying to even have one person understand something that can help them.” 
Julie’s mother, Gretchen, passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2014 and Julie moved to Shawano. She began volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association after a chance meeting with an employee shortly after moving.  Volunteering appealed to Julie because she felt like Alzheimer’s was very taboo. “It’s so important to get the word out about dementia,” says Julie. “When people say they have cancer, we flock to support them, but when people say they have Alzheimer’s, we run from them. The more information we can share with the community, the better it will be for everyone.”
The goal of the classes the Alzheimer’s Association offers is to create awareness and a discussion about Alzheimer’s and other dementia. “Early detection is so important and I want people to be educated,” says Julie. “You can’t be cured, but you can be prepared.”
She also volunteers to help dispel the fears of Alzheimer’s. “My mother was always afraid to talk about Alzheimer’s,” says Julie. “I wish I would have known then, what I have learned through the Alzheimer’s Association, so I could have had more open conversations with her.”