Volunteering for a treasured cause

Spending time helping others doesn’t go unnoticed. Locals reveal why taking the time to volunteer for a cause is special to them.

Local radio personality Jeff Dorsey has been a member of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s board in Quincy, Illinois, since the very beginning.

“I joined when they initially set up the board locally and have never left,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1983, making it his first encounter with the disease. He was living in Kansas City at the time.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, 50 million people live with Alzheimer’s and other dementias worldwide.

“Having your father’s memory fade away and living four hours away made for a difficult period in my life,” Dorsey said. “His physical status affected my mother’s well-being as well. My mother never drove a car and was completely dependent on my father. In the early stages, he would forget how to drive back home from the grocery store, a trip he made weekly for years.”

Dorsey’s second encounter with Alzheimer’s was another that was close to home.

“Some 33 years later, one of my best friends and a former co-worker is dealing with Alzheimer’s,” Dorsey said. “Having joined the Alzheimer’s Association board in Quincy years ago and after going through what I did with my father, I could see the same symptoms in my friend.”

Jennifer Green, Manager of Education and Community Volunteers for the Quincy office of the Illinois Chapter for the Alzheimer’s Association, also has a personal connection to volunteering.

“My grandfather had dementia,” Green said. “I wanted to be able to support families going through the same journey as mine went through when I was a little girl.”

Alzheimer’s disease in a degenerative brain disease, and dementia is not a specific disease, but a term that describes a group of symptoms.

In a press release from the Alzheimer’s Association on December 28, 2020, Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director spoke on how families today have been impacted by investments and help.

“The reliable and sustained investment by the federal government is spurring innovation leading to breakthroughs in treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure,” Egge said. “And today, individuals and families have greater access than ever before to critical care and support services.”

As of December 28, 2020, the annual federal investment of Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the National Institutes of Health reached $3.1 billion with a $300 million increase.

“For the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, early detection, documented diagnosis and access to care-planning services are increasingly critical,” Egge said. “For too long, individuals and their caregivers have struggled to access these services.”

“This is why I walk to end Alzheimer’s,” Dorsey said. “This is why we need everyone to help where they can to end this dreaded disease. This is why we need to assist those with the disease as well as their caregivers.”

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