Making Connections: Why I Walk

By: Erin McLaughlin

My name is Erin McLaughlin. I came to the United States from my hometown of Moffat, Scotland in 2003 to study for one year at Syracuse University. I had such a great year that I decided to stay on in the US, and once I graduated from Syracuse University, I got my master’s degree from New York University. I lived and worked in NYC until 2016, when I relocated with my husband Liam to Kirkland, WA and began working at Microsoft. 

When I was at Syracuse University, I was the president of the Association for Student Elderly Connection — a group that volunteered weekly at local nursing homes and the VA Hospital. We partnered with a fraternity to host a walk in 2006, and then when I moved to NYC, I looked for ways to stay connected and became a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Junior Committee. I participated annually in the walk and when we moved to the PNW, the walk was the first thing that I looked up to be a part of. 

My team name is Generation End Alzheimer’s. With current Washington State Chapter board member Mikaela Louie, we started Generation End Alzheimer’s in Seattle — a group for young professionals who are Alzheimer’s Association advocates. The team was set up to allow those members to walk. GenEndAlz isn’t as active currently, so the team is me, my husband Liam and my two children, Henry and Vivian. In 2019 I had friends from Buffalo, NY and Chicago, IL visit and they joined and fundraised too!

With our friends at the Walk!

My grandfather in Scotland had Alzheimer’s and although I was young, I still remember the devastating effects of it. I wanted to get involved to ensure that our generation is the one that has the first survivor of the disease. 

The walk is a great way for those of all ages and abilities to get involved and fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association, and I love the community that arises from the promise garden ceremonies. I’ve also found that by fundraising, more friends and connections have shared their own experiences with the disease and the Walk gives them a way to connect with the support and resources provided by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s is happening — and you can join us at your local event or Walk From Home in your neighborhood. No matter where you Walk, your participation makes a difference in the lives of those facing Alzheimer’s today and in the future. Visit our website to find the Walk nearest you and register today!

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