The AA Unite team began in May of 2011 via a series of phone calls and emails to my fellow actor friends around the country -- "Gang- I have this idea . . ." By September, four teams walked in Washington DC, New York City, Miami and Los Angeles and raised $23,000 in their first year. In 2013, Actors and Artists Unite became the first non-corporate Friends and Family National Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. We have teams from South Dakota to Louisiana; from Texas to Rhode Island, Arizona, Michigan and all across the country.
Many members of our Washington DC team have stories of a loved one they have lost- "I lost my grandmother . . . my dad . . . we had to put our mom into assisted living. She was wandering out of the house and most of the time- she didn't know us." So many families- so much loss and suffering. AA Unite DC was built by reaching out to our friends and colleagues around the greater Washington DC area and the country via word of mouth and social media. We would hear- "I'm walking in with you in Texas! We just started a team in Tennessee!" Through this team, we have discovered the compassion and strength of the artistic community around the country. Now that we are a national team, it is always so thrilling to hear- "Nance- I have a friend who is at Oregon Shakes. I have a friend who works at Disney. Do we have a team in Ashland? Do we have a team in Orlando?" and I get to say- "We do now!"
I lost my father this summer- he had Dementia. I had promised him- "A cure in our lifetime." Now, I will work that much harder, walk that much further to keep my half of that promise- a cure in mine. I walk for my dad- I walk for my mom who died in 2011 and my aunt who died in 2015. I walk for my team and everyone that they have lost or are losing. I walk for anyone who knows how heartbreaking it is to look in the eyes of someone you love and have them not know you- to watch them fade away until they can no longer speak or move. This is Alzheimer's.
We walk because through the commitment and solidarity of this amazing team --we walk in glory. We walk for a cure for this nightmare. We walk to bring light out of all this darkness. And we walk in hope and strength for a future- that we can all remember.
So, come join us on Saturday, October 12th on the National Mall, 4th Street and Madison Drive, Washington DC, 20004. Registration begins at 8:00 AM, the Opening ceremony is at 9:30 AM and the 1 or 3 mile walk starts at 10 AM. Come join us! All are welcome!
In loving solidarity-
Founder and National Team Captain and Coordinator
Actors and Artists Unite to End Alzheimer's
www.alz.org/AAUnite - our national team page!
We have raised