A fond farewell from “Coach Laura”
Many have joined our staff to make an impact on a disease that has affected a family member.
Laura Brooks has worked for the Alzheimer’s Association in our chapter’s development department since 2013. If you called with questions during Walk season, there’s a good chance you may have talked to “Coach Laura.”
During her senior year in college, Laura first began to notice changes in her mother. Sharon, a very supportive and engaged mother, would forget details of prior conversations. Laura found the Alzheimer’s Association after Sharon was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.
In 2011, Laura started participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Since Sharon was famous for her snickerdoodle cookies, Laura launched the SnickerdoodALZ fundraiser in 2013. Laura has baked over 27,000 snickerdoodles and shipped them all over the country, raising more than $36,000 for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Laura and her family are moving to Oregon. We are sad to see her go, but we are deeply grateful for her many contributions in support of our chapter. She gave us permission to share the farewell letter she sent to our staff.
Never in a million years could I have imagined all of the beauty that would come into my life as a result of my momma’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
As I started to lose her, a dark cloud was cast over my entire life and it felt like I could never be truly happy again. But my despair led me to an Alzheimer’s Association support group, which inspired my family and me to fundraise for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which prompted a speaking engagement at the Memories in the Making auction, all of which resulted in me falling head over heels in love with this organization. When fate dropped news of a job opening at my feet, I applied the same day. And on my very first day of work, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I am so proud to have spent the last five years fighting against the disease that has devastated my family. I have honored my mom by applying the very skills and talents that she helped foster in me to my everyday work. In my role, I have had the opportunity to support our local staff, volunteers, and constituents who have together raised MILLIONS for this worthy cause. I have been a part of a most inspiring and important movement. Every small thing I’ve gotten to contribute here has been meaningful. Sometimes I forget that not everyone can say that about their jobs.
In my colleagues, I found a second family. You have supported me not only through my mom’s Alzheimer’s journey, but through all of life’s adventures. You’ve been there to remind me that there is happiness beyond Alzheimer’s, and sunshine above the clouds. Over the years many of you have been right by my side as I became an aunt, and then a wife, and then a mother. I am blessed to be surrounded by excellent listeners who offer profound advice and wisdom. On top of that, you’re all pretty awesome to spend time with. You are inspiring, hilarious, intelligent, creative, and relentless!
And now the very same thing that led me here — love for my family — is steering my path in a different direction. I am looking forward to slowing down and spending more time with my daughter and husband after our little family relocates to Oregon next week. But it doesn’t make it any less hard to say goodbye to all of you — because you are family, too!
Thank you for the wonderful memories, and thank you for doing the important work that you do to ensure that we all get to keep them! I for one promise that I will never stray far from the Alzheimer’s Association and Penelope and I will continue to proudly sport our purple.