The Alzheimer’s Association counts on over 35,000 volunteers nationwide to help fulfill our mission. During National Volunteer Week, the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter would like to extend our gratitude to our volunteers for all they do in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease. In this article, we feature
My name is Dan Cohen, and I was born and raised in Moorestown, New Jersey, a short ride from Philadelphia. I attended Syracuse University for four years prior to taking my current job as sports anchor/reporter at WREX-TV, Rockford’s NBC affiliate in Northern Illinois. My parents still live on the East Coast, and my brother and sister are based out East as well. Prior to going into TV, I was an avid performing arts department participant in high school, and took six years of voice lessons. I still sing from time to time, but my spare time away from work is mostly spent staying active – CrossFit, hiking, golf. I’m also an avid reader, podcast listener, TV viewer – basically anything that tells a good story.
My personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease stems from my maternal grandfather being diagnosed in the mid-2000s. It was a long, difficult battle, unfolding during my high school and early college years prior to his death in 2010. He was my first grandparent to pass away, and it was really hard on all of us, especially my grandmother, who was his primary caregiver. She lived more than eight years after him prior to her passing in February 2019. I have taken the pain of my experience and channeled it into the work I do for the Association. I want to make sure other families’ experiences are a little easier and they have the resources they need to care for their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s.
I have been an Alzheimer’s volunteer since 2016. I have served as a community representative for the Illinois Chapter, an emcee for three Walks to End Alzheimer’s events, a participant and fundraiser for those walks and have recently taken on a new role as Community Educator.
My decision to volunteer for this great organization is pretty straightforward – to help my community navigate the turbulence of this disease. It is costly from an emotional and financial standpoint, and anything we can do to make the experience a little easier and provide necessary resources to those affected by it makes it worthwhile to put in the time to volunteer.
We can all do a little bit to make the world a better place. B