DOWNTOWN — L.A. Monica Moore’s family has a special way of cherishing the memory of her grandmother, Rose Caruso, who passed away in 2001 with Alzheimer’s disease. Every year, Moore rallies her family to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Walk to fight the disease.
“I have two teams,” Moore said. “One is in honor of my grandmother … I always walk in honor of her with my family. It’s our yearly memorial with her.”
Last year her team consisted of 12 people, including her family, her parents, her brother and his family.
Moore, who is the director of programming for the WISE Adult Day Service Center, is also team captain of her “professional” team, made up mostly of other workers. She sends out e-mails and coordinates the event.
Moore works mainly with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Her grandmother, who eventually didn’t speak, move or recognize her family, had to be placed in a facility at the same time Moore was graduating from high school, and Moore said her grandmother’s experience made a large impact on her life choices.
“She’s the main reason I do what I do professionally,” Moore said. “I had to make sense of why she got this disease, and for me that meant doing something in the field.”
The walk, which begins at 7 a.m. Nov. 1 in Downtown L.A., is aiming for about 3,000 people, Moore said. Last year, Moore said the association was aiming to collect about $1 million, though that goal was not made. This year, her family’s team has raised about $900 and her work team has raised another $300.
Unfortunately, Moore said state budget cuts have affected research organizations immensely. Individual sponsors are also donating less money this year.
Despite these setbacks and the fact that several other organizations also hold major fundraising events at the same time of year, such as AIDS Project Los Angeles, Moore is not overly concerned. When she runs into someone who cannot donate because they are already supporting a different event, she is satisfied to know they have some other cause.
“It’s a very moving experience,” Moore said. “Sometimes family members bring their Alzheimer members and push them in wheelchairs.”
Moore has participated in the walk for 12 years with her family.
“We’re all here in Santa Monica together,” Moore said. “We are all very dedicated to the walk. It’s a very important day to us each year.”