I initially became involved with the Alzheimer's Association in 2003, when I participated in The Memory Walk at Bushnell Park. I was about 3 months out of my masters degree program and had my 1st career job as a social worker in a nursing home. I was very fresh at my role & don't feel I had the knowledge base or connection with the disease as I do now. Since that 1st walk; my leadership, awareness, knowledge, skills & the meaning of the disease has evolved significantly. I still work at the same nursing home & am now a program director of a Homestead Unit. At my job, I oversee both long and short term residents with dementia, encountering residents at all stages of the disease. My residents bring me joy & I help to provide them with a sense of comfort & happiness during this disease process. My residents make me smile daily, sometimes cry and I learn something new everyday about the disease, their lives and much more. I also run a monthly support group in helping to support the families & caregivers and provide them with education on the disease process. I have been the Chair of The Enfield Walk to End Alzheimer's for several years. I chose to participate in honor & in memory of all of my residents past, current and future. The disease is not only close to my heart because of the residents and families I work with on a daily basis, but also because I lost my grandmother to vascular dementia in the fall of 2015. Before the disease, I would say that my grandmother and I were not particularly close. This disease brought us together, she had a great sense of humor & a wild imagination, which I miss on a daily basis. I would visit her several times a week and each visit brought me joy. I have become a Champion of Alzheimer's in memory of my gram and in honor of all my residents. I want to help others to learn about and embrace the disease as I have been able to over the last 14 years. Alzheimer's is not going away; so for me I need to advocate, educate and continue to learn so that the people I encounter with the disease can have the best quality of life possible.