Suzanne Stone is a life-long resident of Lexington, KY, and worked many years as an accountant for a national non-profit before retiring to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, and eventually a caregiver for her mother.
How long have you been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association?
My mother was diagnosed with this devastating disease in the early 1990’s. At that time, our family had no information or resources about Alzheimer’s. I remember calling our local chapter and the person who answered the phone that day calmed my fears and provided an extensive amount of hope, support, and resources. At that time, I had no idea that conversation would be the beginning of a journey that has led me to those who needed hope, to those who are working passionately to combat this terrible disease, and to opportunities beyond my imagination to spread awareness.
In what ways do you volunteer?
I am so grateful to help in any way possible and have had the honor of being involved with the Alzheimer’s Association in several capacities: member of the Public Policy Advocacy Committee, meeting with state legislators and field representatives, participating and helping with the Walks and Health Fairs, speaking and representing the Association before other organizations, and data entry.
Why do you support the Association?
During my mother’s illness, passing and afterwards, the Alzheimer’s Association was sincerely helpful and incredibly supportive to our family. It was a time of hardship, sadness and loneliness, and I came to understand the phrase, “the long good-bye”. The Association provides on-going support and educational programs to caregivers and those with memory loss, disseminates information and awareness regarding research, preventive measures and healthy lifestyles, and advocates with our legislators to support research and quality care. I care deeply about the work of the Alzheimer’s Association and support their efforts as I have been personally affected by this debilitating disease as a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be devastating and draining physically, emotionally and financially. The Association is a dedicated organization of sincere and passionate personnel focused on their mission.
What impact do you feel your work with the Alzheimer’s Association has on the community?
I had such a strong desire to do “something” when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At that time, it seemed little was known about the disease and how to care for those with it. Over the years, I have witnessed an increased awareness of the disease, increased funding for research, better medical care and preventive measures being taught, and a better understanding and acceptance that Alzheimer’s disease is not just an “old-age” disease. With many people united in these efforts, we can all make a difference.
What else are you involved in within your community?
Presently, I am the Women’s Sunday School Teacher for my church. I also volunteer with Step by Step, serve as Secretary of my Neighborhood Association, and participate with The Lexington Rescue Mission-“Jobs for Life program” at the Fayette County Detention Center.
Why would you encourage others to support the Association?
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death, and is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. Currently, there are 71,000 Kentuckians and 272,000 caregivers affected by this disease with the numbers projected to increase at an alarming rate. These facts alone should impress upon others how important and vital it is to support the work of the Association.