Walk Committee member engages young adults in the fight to end Alzheimer’s
Keely White, whose grandmother, Roberta, had Alzheimer’s, has been participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s® for five years. Within the last year Keely moved to San Francisco and is now a part of the San Francisco Walk Committee. As a Sigma Kappa alumna, Keely is encouraging her local sorority sisters, friends and family to donate in the hopes that there will be a cure in her lifetime. We asked Keely to tell us about her grandmother and offer some tips on fundraising.
What motivated you to participate in Walk?
My grandmother Roberta, who had Alzheimer’s, passed away this month [October 2022]. Prior to her diagnosis, my grandma Roberta was truly a force to be reckoned with. She was a single mother of four, a full-time nurse, a passionate philanthropist, and a drag car racer (no joke!). It has been sobering, humbling and heartbreaking to watch her memories, independence, and identity be stripped away from her over the years.
When my grandma started showing symptoms, my family didn’t know what to do or where to start. It has been a journey finding the best path forward for her, and we continued to work through it until she passed. I am so grateful for the resources that the Alzheimer’s Association® provides to help families like my own make educated decisions and find support. I walk not only for the future generations of my family, but for women everywhere.
How did you get people to join your team?
It’s remarkable how just about everyone I know is somehow connected to Alzheimer’s, whether they know someone who is a caregiver or are a caregiver themselves. I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends, and their commitment to end Alzheimer’s. Sharing my story and the importance of the cause has helped me grow my walk team and connect with others who have been impacted by this disease.
How are you raising funds for Walk to End Alzheimer’s?
Every year, I ask my family and friends to participate and donate. I utilize all social media platforms to share my story and ask for donations. This year, I asked to speak at my company’s town hall to share about Walk and request donations. I raised $200 in 20 minutes!
Many people care about this cause and have personal connections. The best way to fundraise is to ASK! People don’t know to donate unless you ask them and most of the time, they will give whatever they can.
Why is it important for more people to be involved?
My goal is to engage young people and increase awareness of this horrible disease amongst the younger generation. Young people are the future caregivers to those with Alzheimer’s. We may be taking care of our parents and other loved ones in the years to come.
We must do all that we can to fund important resources for caregivers, and further the effort to find the first survivor. I hope that there will be a cure to this disease in my lifetime and until then I feel a responsibility to help in any way that I can to make that happen.
What is your favorite part about Walk day?
My favorite part about Walk day is the Promise Garden. It truly is amazing to see all the flowers representing those who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s, and the one flower [the white flower] representing the first survivor.
It’s amazing to connect with others who are so passionate about this cause. The community around the Alzheimer’s Association is so caring and supportive. Those who are a part of the Alzheimer’s Association have such inspiring dedication to giving a voice to the voiceless and fighting for the first survivor.
Keely invites you to join her team, Keely’s Purple Dream Team, at the 2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in San Francisco on November 5. Not near San Francisco? Make a donation to a Walk near you at alz.org/walk.