Finding a way to join the fight for cure

Woman organizes event that allows Village Pointe Commons residents like her mother to participate in a Walk to End Alzheimer’s mission that hits close to home
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The irony struck Angela Rester when she visited her mother at the Village Pointe Commons senior living complex in Grafton and saw a sign-up sheet for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Port Washington on Oct. 1.

Some residents there, for whom Alzheimer’s hits close to home either because they are grappling with the disease or have friends and relatives who are, aren’t able to participate in the effort to fund research into a cure because of physical limitations.

“I saw the sign-up sheet and was told that mainly just staff members sign up,” said Rester, who because of her longtime involvement in Rotary Club is involved in discussions about how to make communities more welcoming to people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“Residents can’t participate because they can’t do the walk or because they are concerned that in a crowd they might get bumped and know a fall can be deadly,” she said. “And many know that if they have Alzheimer’s or dementia, then their children will most likely have Alzheimer’s or dementia, which makes them highly motivated to find a cure.”

A few Village Pointe Commons residents had thought about ways to get involved in the Alzheimer’s research effort but didn’t know how to organize such events.

Rester did, and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Village Pointe Commons last week was the result.

From 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, and 7 to 9:30 a.m. the following day, 47 residents walked and rolled in wheelchairs and scooters two miles by doing laps around the senior living complex, not all at once but at their own pace, free to take short breaks or pick up where they left off the next day. An additional 26 residents volunteered to work at stations along the route to support participants.

In doing so, they were able to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and raised nearly $12,000 for research into a cure. That amount, Rester said, is likely to grow to $15,000 or $20,000 since sponsorship donations are still rolling in and will be accepted until the walk in Port Washington on Oct. 1.

“It’s really an insane amount considering this was our first year,” Rester, a Cedarburg resident, said.

While still in the planning stages, the event received a boost from Rester’s husband Robert Samse, who donated $1,000 that was divided into $25 sponsorships for each of the participants, one of whom won a drawing for an additional $100 sponsorship.

But even with a little money to work with, it was unclear, Rester said, whether residents would buy into the concept.

The question was answered by a healthy turnout at an organizational meeting and even more residents who attended subsequent planning meetings.

“A lot of credit for this goes to Florence VanCleave (a resident), who really worked behind the scenes to get residents involved and excited about this,” Rester said.

The money raised for Alzheimer’s research is important, Rester said, but so is the fact that the Village Pointe Commons event allowed residents to participate in an effort that targets a disease that is particularly personal for them.

“They understand better than most what this disease does, and now they can be a part of finding a cure,” she said.

 

 

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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