“Alzheimer’s is not fair to the people who get it. It is not fair to the family. However, life is never fair. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone.” – Kathy Konek
Decades of Dedication Fighting for a Cure
Kathy Konek has been involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for an outstanding 26 years. She first became involved in the walk in the mid-1990s, which was known at that time as the Memory Walk. Kathy’s sister was an Activities Director at a local nursing home and needed some help assisting residents at the Memory Walk that year. Kathy had the opportunity to push someone in a wheelchair for the Walk and has been involved ever since. After a few years, Kathy moved to a new community and continued to volunteer and walk with the Alzheimer’s Association. “When I moved, I thought it was a way to give something to my new community,” says Kathy.
Kathy has been involved as an individual and as part of several teams. She’s walked with the Coldwater Creek team and the Bonners Ferry walkers in North Idaho since 1997. Helping her teams raise thousands of dollars in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, Kathy is inspired to continue fighting not only to raise awareness but to support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their families. “Hopefully this (fundraising) has helped those in my community who have been struggling with the disease by allowing them to hire caretakers so they can stay in their homes and also provide education classes for their families members and caretakers, so they have the tools they need to take care of their loved ones,” says Kathy.
In 2006, Kathy lost an Aunt to Alzheimer’s at the age of 86 and lost her sister earlier this year at the age of 69. She walks for them and continues to fight to end Alzheimer’s for her family and many others facing Alzheimer’s. “I do not want to live to be old and not know about it,” says Kathy.
Why Kathy Walks
Kathy is walking in the North Idaho Walk this year, held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on October 1. “My favorite part of the Walk is being around like-minded people, getting out for the day, and doing something to help improve my future and the future of others,” says Kathy. She says. Some of her favorite walk memories are when the walk was held at Farragut State Park as a “walk in the woods” and when it snowed, coating the walk in a thick blanket of sparkling white.
“I walk in the hope that one day we will no longer need to walk. There have been great strides in other areas, such as Cystic Fibrosis. I can only hope that the same level of research, and intelligence, can find a way for us to cure, or at least deal with, Alzheimer’s. As more young people today see their grandparents deal with dementia it is my hope that they will study the sciences and be the one to find the answer.”
Together, we can #ENDALZ