Make Your Voice Heard

Join us for the 2019 Illinois Advocacy Day in Springfield! As an Alzheimer’s advocate, you will have the opportunity to speak with legislators and draw critical attention to the advancement of Alzheimer’s public policies.

At the beginning of the day, our advocates will receive training on the Association’s policy priorities for 2019, as well as messages to carry to legislators throughout the afternoon. The Alzheimer’s Association will also provide appropriate strategies for a successful visit.

This event provides an opportunity for participants to engage with legislators. Advocates will visit several members of both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives, sharing personal stories and asking lawmakers for their support of critical legislation designed to make Illinois a dementia-capable state.

In just one day, advocates have a chance to change the lives of nearly one million Illinois residents impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside key policy-makers who share a common vision for this cause, each individual has the capacity to make an incredible impact on how lawmakers address Alzheimer’s disease and respond to this ever-growing epidemic.

Transportation to the Capitol will be arranged from a variety of locations, with both lunch and snacks provided.

To register for the 2019 Illinois Advocacy Day on Wednesday, May 1, please click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jan Tyda

My name is Jan Tyda.  I am 61 years old and have lived in Chicago all my life.  I currently work in Banking Anti-Money Laundering Compliance and have done this for nearly 40 years. I have one son named Jeff,  I love gardening and making silk floral arrangements. I try to see the positive in all of life’s experiences – good or bad. Most importantly, I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s!

My late husband, Bruce, was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s at 57 years old.  He fought a very brave battle for 6 ½ years, and sadly lost his fight at 63 years old on Sept 6, 2018.

When Bruce was first diagnosed, I found the Alzheimer’s Association website where I educated myself about the disease.  I would read something about the disease, cry and then sign off. I would sign on again, read something else, cry and sign out.  I did this many times, but always learned something each time to help me begin my plan for our journey.

I have volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association for the past seven years – this year will be our 8th Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We have planned some very successful walks and I have met some really terrific people!  Our very first walk was held in Highland Park at Sunset Park. I was asked by the North Shore Walk Committee Chair to speak at the walk since our team raised about $3,500 in two weeks! It was so important to get my story out about Bruce that first year. I spoke about the Alzheimer’s Association website and how it got me on track for a plan.

The information and knowledge I received from the Association helped me to begin to see a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. I wanted to learn everything I could about the disease.  I also love to share information on what worked with us during our journey. I have learned always to have a plan A, then B, then C and D and if those do not work, to just keep trying. I find that we are all in this together and it takes a village to get through this. Although my Bruce is no longer here – I want to be an Advocate and continue the work towards a World Without Alzheimer’s! (That white flower!)

This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience, but the Alzheimer’s Association has helped me find the resources I need. And for that, I am forever grateful.  By volunteering, we can work together towards our goal of a World Without Alzheimer’s. We are going to find that cure!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jacqueline Levernier

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 Illinois Chapter volunteer, Jacqueline Levernier.

Tell us a little about yourself!

“Generosity, love and compassion for others is how I live my life. I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

I live in Libertyville with my loving husband and 3 four-legged ‘kids’.  My daughter Becca has left the nest and is a lovely independent professional. I love to cook, and I frequently share my meals for those going through challenges in their life.  I can’t fix their problems but I can offer a meal made with love and compassion.”

What is your personal connection with Alzheimer’s disease?

“My grandfather had Alzheimer’s.  I was very young and I remember finding it very odd that he could not remember me or his own daughter.  I now work at Sunrise Senior Living and every day I see many people living with this disease. I also moved my mother into Sunrise last April ”

What led to your involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association?

“I offered to lead the Sunrise Buffalo Grove team for 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We succeeded in being the Highest contributor of all Sunrise Communities in the United States.”

What kind of volunteer work do you do for the Association?

“I am on the 2019 Lake County and Northwest Suburban Walk Committee.  I have been actively volunteering with the association since last year.”

Why is volunteering with the Association important to you?

Beacause there is no cure for this disease that takes the lives of so many each year. I will do whatever I can to help raise funds to help find a cure.”

Why do you think others should volunteer?

“The deaths from Alzheimer’s continue to rise each year. We need the support of passionate and dedicated volunteers so that a cure can be found.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Rose Levitt

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 Illinois Chapter volunteer, Rose Levitt.

My name is Rose Levitt. I grew up in a small town in Nebraska, and received a degree in business from the University of Nebraska. My husband, Chuck, who passed away two years ago at the age of 68 from young-onset Alzheimer’s, was my hometown sweetheart. After college, we opened a Little Professor Bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska. Chuck was a lover of books and would speed read several at night so he could help customers choose the right book to purchase. Together, we started the Midwest Mystery Convention and eventually hosted the World Mystery Convention. One of the saddest days in this Alzheimer’s journey was when he no longer had an interest in reading.

Chuck was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010. We lived in Asheville, NC at the time where I was working as a real estate agent. That diagnosis was a shock. Alzheimer’s was suppose to be an older person’s disease. What did this diagnosis mean for a younger person? We thought we had quite a few years ahead to travel and enjoy life, so we retired to Bluffton-Hilton Head, South Carolina.

On Hilton Head, there was a wonderful organization that specializes in helping people with Alzheimer’s stay active and provide a break for caregivers. They had support groups and educational seminars to learn about Alzheimer’s. Through these classes and engaging with other caregivers I began to see how little people (including myself) knew about the disease and how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.

My lack of knowledge led me to the Alzheimer’s Associaton website for South Carolina. That was how I learned about a Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Bluffton. I contacted the walk coordinator to volunteer and soon became the walk retention chair. After three years, I could see Chuck deteriorating rapidly. I wanted to be near my family to help me through this period, and I wanted our only two grandchildren to get to know their grandfather better. So we moved to the Chicago area to be near our oldest daughter and family; a decision I am so happy we made. Our granddaughters were only two and five at the time, but they still talk about their grandfather and how they enjoyed visiting him at the memory care facility.

Once we were settled I knew I wanted to become involved with a Walk to End Alzheimer’s again. This year, I am starting my fourth year as Retention Chair for the Lake County Walk. I volunteer to not only raise money for research, but I also feel there is a real need to provide caregivers with information.

Alzheimer’s affects everyone. People diagnosed with the disease cannot be the spokesperson for finding a cure. They need their family, friends and neighbors to speak for them. Volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association is a great way to find out how you can reach out to someone to make their life easier. Remind people that Alzheimer’s can strike even at a younger age and encourage people to recognize the signs. Knowledge is valuable. Maybe one day – there will be a cure.