Sunday, October 14, 2012


Today is the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer's on Virginia Beach. An annual event  sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association to raise money and awareness in the fight against Alzheimer's disease *.  

I only just found out about the walk this past Friday. Being as it was too late to drum up sponsors for my participation in the walk I decided to support those that were signed up!  Thought to myself 'what can YOU do?' ... Well I can make jewelry of course! 

So the plan I came up with was to make a bunch of earrings and together with my grandson Quadir, I would go down to the Walk and hand them out as a thank you. See we wanted to take part, even if only to cheer the walkers on. We wanted to do it for my sister Jill (I call her Jilly) who has Alzheimer's.

First I raided my stash for all my purple beads...some but not enough! Dragged my hubby to Michael's to pick up more purple beads and some silver findings. Hmmm, seems to be a shortage of earring sized beads - grabbed the couple I found!

Friday night I sat down and put all my beads in a one basket (well, they say not to do that with eggs, they never said a word about beads!:P) Had my pile of findings and other accents, and I just started digging in.


It was very freeing to be able to just open a box of beads, charms and things and just get to designing! It turned out to be a fun night -

Saturday morning I worked on the packaging! Added a thank you note to the back of my card, attached a pair of earrings, dropped them in a bag and then tied a purple ribbon on each one! All in all, ended up with close to 30 pairs plus a few keychains for the fellas!

Quadir worked on a special shirt he could wear to honor his Aunt Jill.

This morning I threw all the jewelry in a bag, along with my camera and a pack of tissues - knew I might need them - and off we went!

My hubby dropped us off at 10:30 on 17th Street & Atlantic. Within seconds of reaching the boardwalk we spotted our first walkers - a whole family of walkers - Leslye Forrest and her family!

Next we came upon a three FOUR-some made up of Lynda, Betty, Caroline & Posh! As Quadir handed out the goodies I began to explain why we were giving away jewelry. I didn't get far into my little speech. I got so choked up with emotion I couldn't even get the words out. I just started to cry, that's when the women hugged me. I pulled myself together as best I could.

After that encounter I had to go sit on a bench to pull myself together. I wasn't the only one here with a loved one effected by this terrible disease so I can't be falling apart every time we approach someone! I gave my niece Crystal a call back in NY. It was nice to be able to talk with someone who was going through this too, and understood my motives. This isn't about the "nice thing" I am doing... its just something I NEED to do to help me cope. THIS isn't about me, its about my sister and her family. They are going through this every hour of every day. I feel sad, but more than anything I feel guilty. Guilty that I am not there to help them, there to be my sisters' friend and reassure her. I can't even express the pain I feel.

 I love my sister so much. She is such a sweet person. She has always been there for me - always! She is the ONE person who I knew loved me as I was growing up, she is my older sister but she was always like a mother to me. She was with me when one of my daughters was born AND she was in the room when that daughter had her son, Quadir. How fitting that Quadir should be the one to take part in this day with me!

OKAY...back to the WALK to END Alzheimer's....

Next we came upon these very of caring people -

And then there was Arnold, Alisha and Michele ...

 And then there was Angie and Kia...

Carrie, Teresa and Greg...

          Betty & Sharon.... 

                          THE DurdyGirlz Social Club Hampton Roads!... 


     Ilene and Susan...

  and Nicole and her family, walking in memory of their Grandpa and Great Grampa - Robert L. Adams!

Quadir and I finally ended up at the starting line on 31st Street. He was tired, poor kid! BUT never too tired for a another photo!

AND to top it off, his promised reward - ICE CREAM!!

All in all it was a beautiful day- one I will definitely repeat next year - BUT next time I will be ready!

*** A special thank you to my artist friends from Creative Bead Chat, Artisan Whimsy and BeadSwap-USA who made very generous donations to the ALZHEIMER's ASSOCIATION in honor of my sister! You ladies are just THE BEST!!

It's NEVER to late to make a donation...CLICK HERE!

 BE sure to check out my other blog for all things jewelry!

* Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

Here are a few facts -
  • 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.
  • One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Very touching tribute, Shelley. I am most surprised by the huge number of people providing unpaid care to afflicted family members. I know from experience (former nurse) how great a toll this takes on families. They naturally have a high level of physical, mental and social stress, but unfortunately there is a great unwillingness to acknowledge it, both by those involved and by outsiders. Research is important but in the meantime there needs to be be increased support for those providing care.

    Thanks for writing about your experience, Shelley... you have let lots more people know about Alzheimers. Hope you'll have a chance soon to spend special time with your dear sister Jilly! xoxo