Ellen Sappington’s professional career spans more than 30 years, using her experience and creativity as a writer / producer for CNN, moving through the ranks from news writer to on-air promotions producer and launching new networks, including the popular Cartoon Network. Her journey then took her out to Denver, Colorado to launch new and upcoming movie networks for STARZ! and Encore, travelling in and out of the country solving on-set problems, producing behind the scenes shorts and managing all special projects.
Eventually, Ellen settled in Durango, Colorado, working on a per-project free-lance basis, honing in on her business management and financial skills while helping to start small business and seeing them grow. She recently moved back to Georgia, and currently resides in Macon to be near her family.
Ellen attended the University of Georgia, studying Journalism at the Henry Grady School of Journalism, and finalized her degree at Fort Lewis College in Durango – graduating at the top of her class. School and work aside, Ellen loves dancing, beginning her long-time training in Ballet and Jazz with Ruth Mitchel Studios in Atlanta, where she grew up. She also plays tennis, cycles, skis – on the snow and the water, loves walking, hiking, camping everything outdoors, and has an unrelenting passion for God, cooking, her family and friends.
Ellen’s father died more than 2 years ago of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “Watching the process of deterioration in an otherwise strong, healthy and brilliant man like my father was life-changing”. One of the most important things I came away from is that the person being ravaged by the disease would not choose to have this experience. This disease makes it impossible for them to communicate what is in their minds and hearts. I simply cannot imagine the sheer frustration and helplessness of being locked, trapped inside, with no way out – and no hope of ever getting out. You find you can’t do what you have always been able to do; you can’t understand or remember even the simplest of things that once you took for granted. Even so, those victims, whether being cared for by spouses or family members, or even care facilities, are still human beings; and, just because they are sick, they still have feelings. I’m no doctor, but this is what I believe with every ounce of my being, and a very important lesson I learned from my father on his sojourn into decline.
My dad loved to walk, even as the disease was on-setting. I was blessed enough to spend hours and hours and hours just walking with him. We would walk for miles and miles, sometimes talking, sometime in silence. On many of our outings, he would tell me as story; then only 10 minutes later tell me the same one again. This pattern might repeat for hours. But, each time, I listened as if it were the very first time hearing it. The look of delight on his face as he spoke was proof enough that this was his story, and he could still tell it. Yes, he was still “in there”. Now that he is gone, I wish I had had more time to hear his stories. Maybe the details were not exactly right, or perhaps the sequence of events might not have actually happened that way, but that is not the point. Only that he was still “in there”, and still yearning for love and understanding, even until the end. I believe God gave him the grace to weather this disease with more grace than I have ever witnessed. And, the lessons I learned will forever be in my heart. Should this happen to me, I can only hope to handle it with such dignity.
I am participating in this event because it’s personal, not just to me, but to everyone that has been touched by Alzheimer’s. The sooner a cure or solution can be found, the better.
I am asking each and every one of you to support me in my endeavor to raise money for research and support of those who suffer, and may be destined to suffer in the future.
With heart-felt thanks and always much love.
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