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Why I Walk…Arielle’s Story

For Arielle Thompson, Walk to End Alzheimer’s highlights an opportunity to share light and positivity with others.

Her grandmother was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and both Arielle and her aunt were her primary caregivers. When Arielle’s aunt suffered a heart attack in 2018, Arielle became the sole caregiver to her grandmother. She was also raising her two children.

Arielle felt that, while being a caregiver for her grandmother and children was tough, watching her grandmother struggle with this disease was even harder. “I tried to connect with moments that triggered happiness within her,” she shared. “We sang, I reminded her of stories, we walked, we laughed, we cried…but most importantly, we made more memories that I would forever cherish.

Arielle focused on the positive moments within the struggles. Her experience with her grandmother led her to understand that supporting someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is more than just financial support. “The physical, mental, and emotional impacts of this disease can be greatly challenging,” she says. “These challenges require support…the support of each person is important.” Arielle found help through the free programs and services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Illinois Chapter.

Arielle is grateful for the opportunity to share her story with others. She has been a volunteer with the Association since 2015, and she is currently serving as a Member of the Logistics Committee for the Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She is also an annual participant in The Longest Day.

Arielle walks because it reminds her of all of the reasons why her family should remain hopeful. She finds inspiration from the stories of other families impacted by dementia and feels encouraged by joining together with other supporters to raise awareness. Arielle says, “I will continue to fight and continue to encourage others to do so as well because we all deserve the opportunity to share in [the] victory over Alzheimer’s!”

Visit alz.org to register for your local Walk to End Alzheimer’s event.

Contributor: Amanda Wisinger, Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer

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