Walking for a cure: Walk to End Alzheimer’s co-chairs remember their mothers as they volunteer

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There are over 6 million Americans, like Aubrey Hagen’s mother, who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

"Alzheimer’s disease can take her memories and her speech but it really hasn’t dulled her sparkle," said Hagan. "I’m really grateful for that, I think she’s a fighter."

Hagen says that since developing the disease at the young age of 56, her mother has become very quiet- a side effect of Alzheimer’s.

"It’s odd because she was a very chatty, very vibrant person. Still very vibrant though, she still recognizes me."

Despite the disease, Aubrey is thankful to still have her mother to laugh with and an organization to help when times aren’t so easy.

Since her mother’s diagnosis she has been involved heavily with the Alzheimer’s Association, starting with the walk, then becoming a volunteer and now serving as co-chair for the Twin Ports walk this year.

A story that her co-chair counterpart, Liz Baczkiewicz, can relate to.

"I started walking about 8 or 9 years ago and I walk because my mom had Alzheimer’s," said Baczkiewicz. "At first we didn’t really know what it was, but eventually we did reach out to Alzheimer’s Association and did receive support from there. She passed away about three years ago now, but we continue to walk in her honor."

Liz says her mom was a caregiver, a lifelong volunteer and always did things to make other people smile and know they were loved – that’s why she continues to honor her by walking and volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association.

"The support of the Alzheimer’s Association, and especially friends I’ve made through volunteering, was invaluable."

And what better way to fight this disease than by doing it together.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.