Community Spotlight: NYCM Employees Support the Alzheimer's Association in Their Fight to End This Disease - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Sep 24, 2021

Community Spotlight: NYCM Employees Support the Alzheimer's Association in Their Fight to End This Disease


NYCM Insurance is a proud supporter of the Walk to End Alzheimer's, an event hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association. Held annually in more than 600 communities across the nation, the Walk to End Alzheimer's is the world's largest fundraiser for Alzheimer's care, support and research. This awe-inspiring event invites participants of all ages and abilities to come and join the fight against this life-changing disease. Continue reading to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association  and the ‘why’ behind some of Team NYCM’s most passionate participants.


What is Alzheimer's Disease?

You may be surprised to learn that Alzheimer's is actually the most common cause of dementia, dementia being a general term that refers to severe loss of memory and other cognitive abilities. These symptoms will eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It’s important to know that Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging and, unfortunately, there is currently no cure. That being said, extensive research has led scientists to a treatment that appears to temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life for those who are struggling with Alzheimer's. That research has been made possible by organizations like the Alzheimer's Association.


What is the Alzheimer's Association?

The Alzheimer's Association is an organization whose mission is to end Alzheimer's and other dementia causing conditions. They do this in large by helping to accelerate global research, advocating for early detection practices, and by looking to maximize high quality care and support. The Alzheimer's Association is the leading non-profit funder of Alzheimer's research, currently investing over $250 million to more than 750 projects across the globe. They have also helped to pass life-changing legislation like the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which mandated the creation of a national plan to fight Alzheimer's and coordinated efforts toward its first goal to prevent and effectively treat the disease by the year 2025. To learn more about the impact of the Alzheimer's Association, check out this link.


Walking for a Personal Cause

Community events like the Walk to End Alzheimer's help me feel connected to, and inspired by my local community,” says NYCM’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Cheryl Robinson. “I have been participating in this walk for three to four years, of course last year's event was virtual. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Alzheimer's Association and their loyal supporters found a way to carry on. Seeing so many people come together to support a cause that can be so life-changing for the afflicted families, it's inspiring.” Cheryl goes on to explain that while she had seen Alzheimer's Disease affect people that she has known in the past, it became a very personal matter when her family received her grandfather’s diagnosis.


“It is such a horrible disease. You watch loved ones who were once strong and healthy individuals, begin to lose themselves. They struggle to understand what's happening to their minds. My grandfather, for example, a man that has always been so caring for others, dedicating his life to serving this community, now requires care from others. It is truly heartbreaking. Unfortunately, the heartbreak can spread as it does tend to take a toll on those who are caregivers. It is most painful for my grandmother and father as he sometimes forgets who we are, and what we are doing. I choose to believe that he is still in there, and he feels the memories, even if he cannot verbally convey that sentiment.  He still often has the same sense of humor and smile that lets me know he is still my grandpa.”


A Hope for Progress

Julie Palmer, the  Senior Vice President of our Employee Experience Team, thinks of the event as a time to show her support to those who are struggling with these circumstances. “To me, the Walk to End Alzheimer's means hope. It’s a means of supporting the  Alzheimer's Association, who help provide essential services to those in need,” says Julie. “Alzheimer's can be a long and painful journey for many people and their families, so I am thankful they have this resource.”


Julie goes on to share about her experience witnessing the toll that this heartbreaking disease can have, not only on the person with the diagnosis but also on their families. “A few years ago, a close friend’s family member was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's, and because of that, they needed to move in with friends and family. She shared this difficult journey with me. As tears filled her eyes, she told me how her aunt would recognize her and her family one moment, and then wouldn't know who they were the next. She shared how this affected her family; the sadness in watching a family member's memory and life functions deteriorate, while also seeing her children develop the skills to care for others. I started attending the Walk to End Alzheimer's in 2019 as a way to support my friend and her family. I am so grateful that they are able to provide advice, resources, and support to those who are going through these difficult  circumstances.”


Gratitude in the Face of Struggle

“My first walk was in 2018, and I joined the committee that organizes the Oneonta Walk to End Alzheimer's the following year,” says Rena Winton of our Application Development Team. “My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about seven years ago. He doesn’t talk much anymore. It’s been really hard on my mom. She often mentions how much she misses their conversations. Although she’s become a full-time caregiver, my sister and I help her in every way we can. During the winter, they both live with my sister in Florida. In the summer, they come up here and live next door to me. We are beginning to wonder how much more moving my dad can take, as the transitions can be difficult.” Rena goes on to share how much of a blessing the Alzheimer’s Association has been in their lives. “I just can't stress enough how helpful the Alzheimer's Association is. When they say they are there for you 24/7,  they truly mean it. And thankfully so, no one should go it alone against this disease.”


This year, NYCM employees will be walking both in person and virtually to support the Alzheimer's Association, in hopes to raise awareness and funds for those who are battling against Alzheimer's Disease. To learn more about Alzheimer's Association or about donating to the cause, check out this link!  For more information about NYCM employees and our culture, check out the link below!