Every year, The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to Ends Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research, support and care. Walks are held in more than 600 communities nationwide, including Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Tom Rotz, executive director of The Kenwood by Senior Star, is an active participant and avid fundraiser for this cause. Here, he shares what inspires him to walk this October and get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
I got involved with this fight about five years ago. Before that, I couldn’t even pronounce Alzheimer’s. You see, I had no family history of the disease, I never had to see friends struggle with how to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and I honestly didn’t really even understand what it was.
I did the Walk, donated, and volunteered. But I was still on the periphery; I wasn’t affecting the course of Alzheimer’s.
Then I attended my first symposium. I heard the personal stories juxtaposed with the facts about the inequality in funding for this tragic disease that no one else was talking about and it lit a fire.
Call it passion, call it anger, whatever, but I knew in my heart I couldn’t stand by and watch this happen.
It was then that I ceased being a passenger in this fight and I started being a driver. That fire has led to me embarrassing myself at times when a soapbox becomes available and at other times challenging processes and things I didn’t know much about. But I knew enough to know something had to change.
There has been incredible, positive change since I first got involved – growth in awareness and in ground-level advocacy; public conversation has grown; and policy is finally being implemented. But we still have a long way to go and I am in this fight until it is over – until we all see a World Without Alzheimer’s.
If you’d like to join the fight and Walk to End Alzheimer’s, there is still time to register by visiting the chapter’s website.