Oakdale woman leads team “Walking for Irish Sisters”

In a two-year period, Crystal Tredway of Oakdale lost her parents, an aunt and an uncle to Alzheimer’s disease. As an intern with the Alzheimer’s Association last year, she had an opportunity to work on the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’sⓇ in Modesto. Crystal talked with us about her Walk experience and her 2022 Modesto Walk team, Walking for Irish Sisters.

Who motivated you to participate in Walk?

I walk for both my mother and father, and my auntie and uncle who all passed from Alzheimer’s disease within a two-year span. Each one of these individuals played a pivotal role, standing by me in the race to reach my dreams. 

Anne and Don
Anne and Don, Crystal’s parents

My mother and auntie were both women of substance for their era, working in positions that challenged a woman’s place in society. My father was part of the early technical era by working on the linear accelerator located at Stanford and my uncle was superintendent of schools in San Francisco. 

To be a part of the constraints of their Alzheimer’s journey was both a curse and a blessing. As a caregiver I was honored to give of myself, to bring as much quality of time as I could. They all passed between 2017-2018. The dynamic couple duo was reunited at last and free from the pains they loathed anyone to see.

What is one suggestion you would give to someone who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or is a new caregiver? 

The fight is not over! We can make a positive difference in the quality of life during this journey.

Tell us about your Alzheimer’s Association volunteer experience.

I interned during 2021 with Walk to End Alzheimer’s to finish my degree at Penn State, helping with Walks in Modesto, Stockton and Merced. I currently serve on the Retention Committee for the 2022 Walk in Modesto and am an Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM). I am just starting the vetting process to become a Community Educator

Anne and Don (Crystal's parents), Ron (Crystal's husband), Crystal and Elizabeth (Crystal's daughter)
Family celebrating Anne’s 80th birthday

I had no experience with the Alzheimer’s Association until the very end of my caregiving journey, when I attended a support group. The information I currently have is invaluable and my mission as a retiree is to make sure my rural community benefits from it.

What is your favorite part about Walk day?
It’s admiring all of the participants who gather for those that have passed, those currently fighting, and the HOPE in making a difference to find a cure.

Crystal with husband, Ron
Crystal and husband, Ron, on Walk day

What fundraising tips or advice would you share with new Walk participants? 

Reach out to friends and family, including on social media. It’s okay to ask for a donation because the answer may very well be “yes!” The funds raised go towards support, services, and scientific research to end this terrible disease.

Crystal invites you to join her team, Walking for Irish Sisters, at the 2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Modesto on September 17. Not near Modesto? Find your walk at alz.org/walk.

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