By Lynxie Voorhees
My name is Lynxie Voorhees and I am from Mukilteo, Washington. I am a senior at Kamiak High School and plan on attending Barnard College this coming fall. One of my passions in life is rowing. I discovered rowing through a friend who began rowing in college, and I decided to join the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I have since then fallen in love with the sport and my role as a coxswain. Coxing has helped me develop assertiveness and decisiveness and allowed me to develop into the woman I am today. This year for The Longest Day I will be holding a virtual rowing event in honor of my dad who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
My dad is 77 years old. He started showing signs six years ago, and soon after was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His condition has slowly worsened since then; however, as of now, he is fairly stable. I don’t really remember when my dad was diagnosed. It was all a blur. I remember seeing him go in and out of doctor’s appointments in order to monitor the progression of his Alzheimer’s. I remember being confused and not understanding what was happening to him when his mood would change in a split second. I remember feeling saddened when he couldn’t remember certain people or places, or I had to repeat the time or day over and over. Only years later did the reality begin to set in, when the disease started to become more and more apparent in my dad’s everyday life, and with that realization came curiosity as to how the disease progressed and a desire to advocate for my dad and many others in the same situation.
I participated in a seven-week “Girls Who Code” camp the summer before my senior year of high school. As part of that, I worked with a few other girls to code a GPS tracking device for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. I was inspired to work on this project because my dad has Alzheimer’s disease. I have seen firsthand the constant worry, stress and fear caregivers experience of possibly having their loved ones wander out of the house on their own. After the camp, I wanted to continue my research into the disease and continue to spread awareness about it, so I looked for ways to get involved and came across the Alzheimer’s Association.
I reached out to their team, and I was immediately able to find a tight-knit, supportive community of other advocates and volunteers just like myself. I have been a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association ever since, helping organize the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and now The Longest Day.
In college, I plan on studying neuroscience or psychology. I have always been intrigued by the intricate workings of the brain; however, reading the novel “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi when I was younger piqued my interest even more. Since my dad’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and joining the Alzheimer Association as a volunteer, my desire to study neuroscience has only grown.
My fundraiser for The Longest Day is a culmination of my love for rowing and passion for ending this horrible disease that my dad is experiencing. I will hold a virtual event where everyone can erg (use a rowing machine) from home or workout however they want to, and share a picture or video of themselves being active to spread awareness and get others motivated. As long as everyone is getting active and working together to help cure Alzheimer’s, the event will be a success!
Want to plan your own event or turn your hobby into a fundraiser for The Longest Day? Visit alz.org/tld for more information!
STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19: The Alzheimer’s Association is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19. Our top priorities are the health and safety of our participants, volunteers, staff and constituents. The Longest Day is currently moving forward as planned. We recommend that participants continue with virtual fundraising efforts and adhere to CDC guidelines when planning in-person fundraising activities. For specific inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.