Karrah Kragale and Kelli Willis of
the Alzheimer's Association, West Virginia Chapter
Currently, over 107,000 family and friends are providing care for the more than 37,000 West Virginians recorded as living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. That number is only dwarfed by the 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's every day. Raising awareness, educating the public and raising funds for some services provided to the families and those affected by Alzheimer’s are the priorities of the Alzheimer’s Association, and this is done locally through the West Virginia chapter, with a regional office in Morgantown. Their primary method of doing so comes through the hundreds of Walks to End Alzheimer’s. The walk, held in Clarksburg on September 30th, adds much-needed funds that not only provide for research of the disease but also helps in funding education of families with a member who has Alzheimer’s, hosting Alzheimer’s support groups and assisting in the training of caregivers for patients that have been diagnosed.
As sisters, Karrah Fragale and Kelli Willis know first hand the devastation that Alzheimer’s can leave in its wake. Their mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and their lives have not been the same since. The diagnosis of their mother began a long and challenging road that created a number of obstacles that had to be overcome. Dealing with the memory loss and the confusion that was created by the disease provided many challenges in the day to day life they both faced. This added to future unknowns only created an environment of frustration that Alzheimer's Association helps to work through.
"We want people in our communities to understand the impact that Alzheimer's has on some of our local families," stated Karrah. "As of right now there are no treatments that have truly impacted the progression of the disease, and we want to change that."
The diagnosis of their mother has sparked the creation of strong advocates in Karrah and Kelli, who have helped hundreds of others within our community through their involvement. Through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the sisters work to bring attention to this disease as well as raise money to provide comfort, education, and support to those in our community impacted by Alzheimer’s. Their efforts brought them to the forefront of this battle and are why they were both selected by WBOY and The Miley Legal Group to be recognized as this month's Celebrating Volunteer award winner. Not only is it important to highlight the impact they have as volunteers, but to also highlight the upcoming walk and the statewide impact that Alzheimer's has on families across our state and the country.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is one of the primary fundraising efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Through individual contributions and corporate sponsors, the walk has raised over $492 million since 1989. The local Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held on September 30th. Although there is no fee to walk, a donation of any amount is appreciated. Registration for teams and individuals is available up until the day of the walk.
“Alzheimer’s has a devastating impact on many in our community,” Marisa Matyola of WBOY stated. “Karrah and Kelli are working with hundreds of other volunteers in communities just like ours to get a better handle on the disease and work towards treatment and an eventual cure.”
“I have said this before, the devastation Alzheimer’s has on families within our community can be felt far and wide,” said Tim Miley, owner of The Miley Legal Group. “Volunteers such as Karrah and Kelli become the backbone of an organization that works to not only find a cure for this disease but to also brings support directly to the patients and their families as they move through the stages of Alzheimer's and the impact it has on their daily lives.”
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The Celebrating Volunteers awardees receive public recognition for not only themselves but their organization. They also receive a $500 contribution to the organization they represent in their name. Marisa Matyola of WBOY TV and Tim Miley of The Miley Legal Group work together to select the awardees from the many nominations received from the public. The volunteer selected will have demonstrated their commitment to an organization through volunteerism and support.
“I am an avid supporter of volunteerism in our communities," Miley stated. "The Celebrating Volunteers program is a way that we can recognize the hard work and dedication of individuals across our region.”
We look forward to recognizing a number of worthy individuals while giving their organizations a part of the spotlight. The program will continue recognizing volunteers throughout the coming year. In order to nominate a volunteer to receive this award, please click on the Celebrating Volunteers logo.