My name is Sara Dickson and I am the manager for Knoxville's Walk to End Alzheimer's. Since stepping into this role in 2019, I have listened as so many have shared their personal connection to Alzheimer's disease. Their stories, although heartbreaking, inspire me daily to keep fighting and working to find a cure.
My own story started several years ago when my grandmother was showing signs of dementia. I knew very little about the disease at the time, but felt its heartbreaking impact. The woman that filled my childhood with priceless memories and invaluable life lessons was slipping away and I felt powerless.
Beginning in 2017, my sister and her husband's family began navigating the ups and downs of Alzheimer's. My 10-year old niece watched her Nana (Joan) struggle and wanted to do something to help.
So, we decided to start a Walk team together in 2020 and after months of fundraising and raising awareness, my niece became the second highest individual fundraiser in Knoxville. Truly amazing!
The disease began to take its toll on Joan. In late September of 2020, just a few days before Knoxville's Walk, Nana's struggle ended. Her impact was felt immediately on those that loved her, and the immeasurable legacy she left behind was especially felt in the hope-filled spirit of her 10-year old granddaughter.
So, today, we carry the purple Promise Flower for Joan, signifying the loss of loved ones to Alzheimer's and related dementia.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised