Twelve-year-old pageant title holder gets kids to support her cause

Fallyn Fossum has participated in the Sacramento Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year since she was a toddler. Her team, Crowns for a Cause, is made up of her fellow pageant titleholders.

Caregiving at age four
According to Webster’s dictionary a caregiver is “a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill).” Currently there are 16.1 million people in the United States caring for a loved one. Fallyn was one of those caregivers.

Fallyn and Bobbie

When Fallyn was born, her grandmother, Bobbie Foster, had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. By the time Fallyn was two, her grandmother was living in a care facility. Fallyn and her family visited Bobbie every week.

While visiting, Fallyn would take her grandmother on walks around the property. At dinner time, Fallyn would not only help feed Bobbie, but also helped other residents.

“Everyone loved when Fallyn came. She’d entertain by singing and dancing,” recalled Fallyn’s mother, Toni. “She used to help with bingo and was a big source of entertainment for the ladies.”   

A special Walk memory
Fallyn participated in the 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s just two weeks before her Grandmother’s death. This Walk held a special memory for Fallyn. She happened to be the very first person to cross the finish line that year. “I’ve never finished first,” Fallyn shared. “It was amazing, and then I got to high-five everyone else who came through.”

While Walk isn’t a race, Fallyn felt like crossing the finish line first showed her dedication to the cause. She was proud to do this for her grandmother. “I’m glad I was able to cross the finish line first,” recalls Fallyn. “It was like it was meant to be.”

Each year since her grandmother’s death, Fallyn and friends try to be the first ones across the finish line so they can high-five other participants as they finish. “I just think it’s so cool to come through the arch at the end of the Walk,” Fallyn explained with excitement. It’s a special way she keeps the memory of her grandmother alive.

Fallyn

Pageant royalty meets Walk
Having grown up with Alzheimer’s in the family, Fallyn knew she wanted to do something to make a difference. Fallyn is involved with pageants and uses this platform to give back to the Alzheimer’s Association.

As Miss Pre-Teen West Coast International 2019, Fallyn has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as her charity. She and other pageant titleholders come together to Walk for this cause.

Getting other kids involved
Fallyn knows that an important part of Walk is raising money for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. She boldly started her own foundation, Fallyn’s Forget Me Not Foundation, which donates funds to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Last year, Fallyn asked her fellow classmates to take part in her Penny Wars project to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Students brought in their pennies (or spare change) as a donation.

Fallyn and her fundraising thermometer

The class who raised the most money won a root beer float party provided by Fallyn and her parents. Last year, Fallyn raised $728 through the Penny Wars.

But Fallyn didn’t stop at Penny Wars. She also made holiday cards to deliver to senior care facilities. With all of her efforts, Fallyn raised more than $1,000.

Fallyn is looking forward to the next Walk. She describes Walk day as “an overwhelming experience. Everyone is so pumped up. It’s mesmerizing to see.”

In encouraging other children to support Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Fallyn shared that 1 in 3 seniors dies with dementia. She reminds kids “that means many kids have a loved one who is impacted.”

Thinking of her own grandmother Fallyn goes on to say, “I’m sure they wouldn’t want this to happen to their grandparents. If they knew it would affect them, then they would do anything to stop it.”

This year, Fallyn will be representing the hope for the future by participating in the opening ceremony at the Sacramento Walk. You can join team Crowns for a Cause or form your own team and join on September 28 at Raley Field in West Sacramento. Not in Sacramento? Find the Walk to End Alzheimer’s near you at alz.org/walk.

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