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Volunteers are the backbone of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan

Volunteers help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's Disease.
Posted at 11:19 AM, Oct 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-16 11:19:18-04

LANSING, Mich. — Each year 6 million people in the United States are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease including 190-thousand people here in Michigan. But there’s one very large group of people – many of them volunteers – working hard to end the disease.

Bertha Bullen is one of them and she says her mission is personal.

“I volunteer because this is something that needs to be done. I’ve lost several family members, including my mother, grandmother, and brother to Alzheimer’s Disease. It just has to stop," said Bullen. "Somebody needs to do something, and I finally decided one day that I’m somebody and I’m going to do something!”

Bertha is a long-time volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan. And she says the organization has given her a sense of purpose.

“I wanted to do more. I wanted to advocate for research, get rid of this disease. It stole my mother from our family," Bertha said. "When I contacted the Alzheimer’s Association, I felt like I had found a whole bunch of somebodies who were working on getting rid of this disease. We were working on supporting caregivers and making this terrible, terrible journey at least a little bit easier for the people who have it.”

Alzheimer’s Association volunteers like Bertha provide support, education, advocacy, and raise funds for Alzheimer’s research in hopes of one day finding a cure for the disease.

Bertha is one of the hundreds of people who participate in the Association’s largest annual fundraising event, the walk to end Alzheimer’s.

Bertha Bullen talks with Bob Hoffman at her home
Bertha Bullen talks with Bob Hoffman at her home

Jillian Cascone also walked in this year’s event that took place in early October in Lansing.

Jillian and her sorority sisters at MSU raised more than $12,000 for the Alzheimer's Association.

Jillian says the disease has also impacted her family.

“I lost my grandmother when I was 16-years old to Alzheimer’s, and it deeply affected my family and me," Jillian said. "In fact, my sister is going into research for Alzheimer’s for her career. It also inspired me. Last year I was the walk chairman, and now this year I’m philanthropic Chair of my sorority. It’s just a part of my life now.”

Jackie Adams attends the walk every year to honor her mom. Jackie says it makes her feel closer to her mom.

“I carry a purple flower because it reminds me of the life that she had and in honor of her being gone," said Adams.

Cammi Robinson, who works for the Alzheimer’s Association, says the walk-to-end Alzheimer’s fundraiser and all the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan would not be possible without the group’s volunteers.

Attendees gather at the Capital
Attendees gather at the Capital

“The volunteers are the most important people here," Robinson said. "I was a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association for six years before I became a staff member. I went out into the community to educate them about the warning signs of the disease, and I also put on volunteer programs for people in the community. I want to educate people about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease and help raise awareness while at the same time break the stigma about talking about it.”

If you would like more information on the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan or want to consider becoming a volunteer, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.

We want to say thank you to all the Alzheimer’s Association volunteers who help provide vital support for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families. You are all this week’s Good Neighbors.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman