Mary lives in Mount Sterling, Kentucky and she is a registered nurse, currently serving as the Clinical Coordinator for Telemedicine at UK HealthCare.
How long have you been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and in what way(s) do you volunteer?
I have been involved for about twelve years serving as the support group facilitator for caregiver groups in Morehead and Mount Sterling as well as a UK Telehealth program facilitator.
Why do you support the Association? How has Alzheimer’s disease personally affected you?
One of the most beautiful women I know was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. Mary Lois “Bingo” Horsley was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. You also couldn’t ask for a better friend or neighbor. We as a family felt her “memory slips” were a result of stress because my father-in-law had been diagnosed with lung cancer. We were devastated when we received her diagnosis. We reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association to help us on our journey and I am so glad we did. The wealth of information and support we got from the Association was just what we needed.
My mother-in-law was also the first patient to be seen in the Memory Disorders Clinic through the Kentucky Telehealth Network at the University of Kentucky. After that, the telemedicine memory disorders clinic was offered in our community and, as a nurse, I was fortunate to be able to facilitate those encounters. I even began to notice other caregivers who had the same questions we had when my mother-in-law was first diagnosed.
Since there weren’t any support groups in our area, I reached back out to the Association to see about starting ones in Mount Sterling and Morehead. And, I am happy to say they were very supportive as we started our groups. I am so thankful for the Association and what it does to help those of us who are on this Alzheimer’s journey.
What impact do you feel your work with the Alzheimer’s Association has on the community?
I feel honored to be able to support caregivers through education, caring and sharing during our monthly meetings.
What else are you involved in within your community?
When my mother-in-law passed away in 2011 we wanted to do something to honor her and others in our community who had Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, Turkey Trot for Alzheimer’s was born and I have been coordinating it from the beginning. Turkey Trot for Alzheimer’s is a 5k walk/run to raise awareness and support for Alzheimer’s locally. This is a yearly event on the first Saturday in November in beautiful downtown Morehead. 70 participants joined us in 2011 and more than 400 participated last year! All the proceeds for the event go to support local caregivers with whatever their caregiving needs may be. We have been able to help buy medication, gas to get to appointments and pay mortgages among other things. We feel this is one way we can ease the burden for our caregivers and a way we can give back to the community.
Why would you encourage others to support the Association?
Someone has always been there for me! I would encourage others to support the Association for their 24-hour support, advocacy and research efforts. This memory-robbing disease is affecting more and more people every day and we need a voice to raise awareness in our elected officials. I feel the Association does an excellent job at this.
Is there anything else you would like us to include or know about you?
I love Jesus and my family. I have been married to my husband Tom for nearly 35 years. We have three children and four grandchildren. We enjoy spending time with family and traveling the back roads of our beautiful state meeting new friends.