Howell hopes for a cure

Published 11:09 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

Elizabeth Howell’s life has been surrounded by Alzheimer’s both personally and professionally, and that was her motivation to start participating with the Western Tidewater Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Shortly after she and her husband got married, they took in his grandmother when she began showing signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They shared responsibilities with her mother-in-law.

“We watched her as she went downhill, and when it was too much for us and his mom, we put her in a nursing home,” Howell said.

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She recalls seeing the changes in her memory and watching her struggle to remember the names of relatives when they visited.

Howell also experienced Alzheimer’s firsthand in her professional life during a stint with Home Instead Senior Care. When she worked there, she made sure to take a class on caring for patients with Alzheimer’s.

“I took their Alzheimer’s class, and I even had a few clients with it. I watched them change from day to day,” Howell said. “I remember a client who knew her husband and how long they were married, but she couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast that morning.”

The change in mental capacity that Howell noticed in her family and her patients was something that touched her heart.

“My heart goes out to them,” Howell said.

For the last five years, Howell has given her time and fundraising efforts to the Western Tidewater Walk to End Alzheimer’s with her husband, and her leadership role for the walk has grown from year to year.

Last year was the first year she was a team captain for her current employer, QVC, and this year she has taken on more responsibility as the chair of the logistics committee.

“I remember last year they were looking for council members and I said to myself this year, ‘I could do that,’” Howell said. “I am involved, because I’m hoping someday we will find a cure.”

Finding a cure is even more important for her as her children start to get older, because Alzheimer’s runs on both sides of their family.

“I’m hoping to get a cure so that maybe one day they won’t have to deal with this,” Howell said.

The participants are working to raise a total of $85,800 before the walk on Sept. 15. They have reached 39 percent of their fundraising goal, with $38,193 raised by 202 participants and 52 teams.

The walk will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at Constant’s Wharf, 110 E. Constance Road. For more information, visit