I've finally been able to catch up on sleep and start the unpacking process back home-- I wanted to sit down and write out an extended version of my thoughts and thank you's to the immeasurable amount of people who played a role in helping me pursue my dreams and achieve my goals.
My grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was just 8 years old and my mom and I cared for him 3-4 days a week for 11 years. He had a dog named Curly that he loved dearly — he couldn’t have Curly in his memory care unit so we kept him and took him to see grandpa on each visit. I’ll never forget the day grandpa passed away... I was driving to say goodbye because the time had come and I was speeding down the highway to make it in time. But I didn’t. Mom and Curly were there. Curly crawled up in my grandpa’s lap and snuggled up to him, and grandpa drew his last breath. I didn’t say goodbye, because that’s just what Alzheimer’s disease does. It rips away memories and so much more from the lives it touches.
My mission has been and will always continue to be finding a cure for this awful disease and to fight to protect the people who are left in the wake of the disease usually struggling with health or medical bills of their own, sometimes even struggling to put food on the table due to Alzheimer’s related care costs.
So While I’m heading home from Atlantic City, you can find me in Chattanooga doing my job and “ walking the walk” with all 5 beagles back in Tennessee. And I’m pretty excited to do just that, because I’m just getting started.
I am overjoyed to have been so loved and supported the entire time I was in AC! I am so unbelievably grateful to have had support from my state, my alma mater school, my graduate school, my home town, my sorority sisters, my friends, my family, and so many more who made this an adventure of a lifetime and made me so proud to represent the state of Tennessee and the 16 million Americans caregiving for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
My work has only just begun and in no way will be slowed or diminished or otherwise— Alzheimers is the MOST EXPENSIVE disease in our nation and it is my DUTY to continue advocating and fighting for a cure.
I am so honored to come home as a state ambassador for CMN hospitals and to love on all of the precious children across my state that need hugs and hands to hold during their chemo and other live saving treatments. I’m so lucky to be coming home to work for the Governor visiting the children in Tennessee’s schools and to speak about the character trait of respect and how that manifests to any and all ages.
What an incredible year I am about to embark on!!
Tennessee, I am THRILLED to come home to you and to serve you this year.
Let’s do this!