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Caroline James (left) at A Willy Wonka Experience for Grownups this winter in Canton

MARION, Ohio – A volunteer team from United Church Homes’ Chapel Hill Community is gearing up for the 2018 Stark County Walk to End Alzheimer’s in September with continuing education opportunities and fundraisers that took place throughout last winter and spring.

Caroline James, director of memory support at Chapel Hill Community and Stark County Walk to End Alzheimer’s event chair, joined about 500 other volunteers for the 2018 Alzheimer’s Association Leadership Summit in New Orleans in January to learn necessary skills to lead the Stark County walk to success. There, she learned about engagement for events, connected with peers and attended a networking event about volunteer power. General sessions included information about Alzheimer’s and stories about those living with the disease.

“This was a good way for me to grow as an event chair and volunteer and to grow the team at Chapel Hill,” James said. “We have people from Chapel Hill — staff and family members of those living with Alzheimer’s — who walk every year. Last year, some of the residents in our memory care neighborhood came and walked with us. The leadership summit was a great kickstart to the year and gave me a lot more ideas about how to be a better event chair and team captain.”

About 900 people attend the Stark County walk annually.

In addition, volunteers can sign up as virtual walkers who raise money outside the main event to find a cure for the disease.

The Chapel Hill Community Alzheimer’s Walk team has a goal to raise $2,800 this year for the Alzheimer’s Association.

James, who leads the memory care team at Chapel Hill, also has a personal connection to the disease.

“My Yiayia (grandmother in Greek) was recently diagnosed and we saw the early onset symptoms probably a year ago,” James said. “She was misplacing things in the house, forgetting to turn off the stove. One day, she drove to the grocery store and didn’t know how to get home. I didn’t have a personal connection for a while when I started working in long-term care, but I had residents battling the disease who I’m working with every day.”

Earlier this year, the Stark County Walk to End Alzheimer’s team hosted That Chocolate Bar — A Willy Wonka Experience for Grownups at a popup bar in Canton. The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the Pure Imagination Project, an awareness campaign about Gene Wilder who played Willy Wonka and passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about how to support the Chapel Hill Community Alzheimer’s team, visit https://bit.ly/2JvLlb9.

For more information about United Church Homes, visit unitedchurchhomes.org.

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About United Church Homes: United Church Homes, based in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of seniors for more than a century. The nonprofit, faith-based organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 72 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

Media Contact: Alissa Paolella, Communications Coordinator, 740.382.4885 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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