Monday, October 21, 2013

Leave No Stone Unturned

Dear Friends,
I am going to go ahead and apologize ahead of time, I am distracted! It is Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer's week! I love this week, even though it is bananas! Seeing everyone on bank day, obsessively refreshing our Walk registration page, last minute media interviews, move-in day on Friday, the anticipation (and anxiety) on Friday night, and then suddenly it is Saturday morning and people are pouring through the gates of the ballpark. I am soo excited!! (Think Jessie Spano excited!) W is threatening to take my phone away, I can't stop checking our Walk registration page!

To use a sports metaphor, we are leaving it all on the field, let no stone be unturned, no single person not know about Walk to End Alzheimer's!

Our goal is to raise $140,000- and we need your help to get there - so join our forces and help us leave no stone unturned!


We are at war against Alzheimer's, and Walk to End Alzheimer's is our Sherman tank. Together we are a FORCE against Alzheimer's & dementia. 

Can't wait to see you on Saturday morning!! EEEK!! REGISTER HERE!


  • BANK DAY = Registration E-Z Pass! Calling all Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer's Team Captains, come to bank day to pick up your Registration E-Z pass! Bank Day is Wednesday in our office in Charleston (1601 2nd Avenue, Charleston, WV 25387), from 11 am - 6 pm. Pick up your t-shirts for your team and your event-day registration wristbands so you AND your team can bypass the registration table on Walk day! Don't wait in line, come to BANK DAY!
  • Living with Alzheimer's Tent - This year we are hosting a special place for individuals attending the Walk who have Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It is a place to meet others who are facing Alzheimer's or dementia, and a place to escape the crowd without missing any of the action. For more information call 800.272.3900
  • Walk to End Alzheimer's pictures - stay tuned to our Facebook page for Walk to End Alzheimer's photos! 
  • Living with Alzheimer's Education Series - Starting Monday, November 4 we will host a 3-part education series for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer's and their caregivers. For more information call, 800.272.3900 or email
  • We are making final plans for Caregiver University 2014! We are finalizing our topics as well, and if there is a topic that you would like to see in our Caregiver University 2.0 series, email it to (We are also experimenting with themes, and our imagination has gone wild!) 
  • Monday, October 28 - Our offices will be closed, and our staff will be in their pajamas all day (or at least I will be)! Saturday marks our final Walk and we need to take a breather and refill our inner cup! Our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) will be available. (We are living our mantra of taking care of yourself message!) 
Taco Chili 
I guess it is time to finally accept the fact it is fall. The cold weather on Saturday and beautiful crisp, but sunny Sunday put me in the mood for something hearty & warm. And easy! This weekend wore me out! I love making chili (or anything with beans) because it brings out W's best pull my finger jokes! (Why I love that guy, he keeps me laughing!)

Start by browning 1 lb. of lean ground beef in a large pot. After the meat has browned dump it onto a paper towel- lined plate to drain the excess fat.

In the same pot dump in an onion, diced - over medium heat. (Ok, so I cheated, too lazy to dice)

Let the onions sweat until they become translucent. Add in 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles - I like it hot!!

Followed by a can of regular diced tomatoes

Now for the beans!

This is going to sound weird...but add in 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1 packet if ranch

Add two cans of water, and turn the heat up to medium-high and let it simmer for at least 30 min. This is one of those recipes, the longer it sits the better it gets!

Now it is time to add your favorite toppings and dive in! 

Until next week!

Laurel K.

Monday, October 14, 2013

IT IS Rally Time!

Dear Friends,
On Friday night I felt as threadbare as our hotel room. Like a build-a-bear pulling apart at the seams- stuffing coming out everywhere. It was 11 pm, I'd spent the better part of the night at Wal-Mart tire center, there was no heat, I was on day 13 of a 14-day work week, and of those 13 days, 11 of which I was up before 5:30 (which is early for me!).

Over the past two months I am down a toenail, worked all but 5 days, spent more nights in hotels than in my own bed, singed a large portion of my hair, lost a cell phone, recovered said cell phone from I-64 (well W did actually), lost a computer & make-up bag, found computer and makeup bag, logged 3,000 miles driving and 15 running, 1 flat tire, eaten more fast food than Morgan Spurlock, I look like wolf-boy - since I haven't waxed my eyebrows, my roots are at least 2", nearly threw away a credit card, tracking Walk goals and numbers, innumerable meetings and at least 20 presentations... The thought of the impending 5 a.m. wake-up call, felt like an elephant standing on top of my chest. But, as all of life does - it came.

We groggily arrived at Wheeling Park at 6:30 a.m. Instantly, an intense flood of love and joy washed the elephant away. The storm inside me, replaced, literally, by a rainbow of hope.

This is the moment, these are the hours that make it all worth it - that make me love every mile traveled - every early morning and every late night. To be a part of providing a place for people to take their anger and grief, love and pain - to come together to honor, remember and celebrate. To have a place to fight a disease that robs us of everything. To fight for a better future, a future without Alzheimer's disease - protecting our children and grandchildren. For a few hours each year, we are one big family - sharing our struggles, our moments of joy. The hugs, team pictures, promise garden, donuts, frosty mornings, registration, volunteers, tears, laughter, COFFEE - all of it.

But unlike most moments, these are not fleeting. There is an underlying current of electricity that connects all of the Walks across the state and nation together. It is our building momentum against Alzheimer's disease & dementia - this momentum carries us through the entire year. We carry that power with us, spreading the word and growing the cause. So in those moments we are threadbare, worn down by this insidious disease - I rely on Joe, and Ann, and Keely, and Carol, and Becky, and Debbie, and Molly all of these powerful people and powerful moments from Walk to keep the power on in me. For that, I thank you.


  •  IT IS RALLY TIME!!! Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer's is in 2 weeks!! We are not leaving a stone un-turned. BUT we need your HELP!! We have posters, wickets, postcards - share us via email, facebook, twitter (soon instagram)! Every person registered, every penny raised pushes our mission forward! Help us get to $140,000!! 
  • TUNE INTO V100 Tuesday morning to catch me on the Steve & Jenny Show at 8:20 a.m.! They are not only great media sponsors - they are great partners in our cause!! 
  • Stay tuned to our Facebook page for Walk promotions all week - your chance to win great prizes and help us promote Walk to End Alzheimer's! 
  • Bank Day E-Z PASS! Be sure to join us on Bank Day to not only pick up your team's t-shirts, but pick up event-day wrist bands so you and your team members can BYPASS registration and head straight to the Walk Day Action!! 
  • If you are walking in honor or memory of someone, add their photo to our Why We Walk slide show that plays at the ballpark. Email your photo to Each year this moving tribute continues to grow and inspire us to reach farther. 
  • Living with Alzheimer's Tent, this year at the Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer's we will be hosting a Living with Alzheimer's Tent, a special place for individuals with Alzheimer's to stop by, or take a rest from the action. If you would like more information, email or call 800.272.3900
  • Living With Alzheimer's education program for people in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia and their caregivers will start in November. Click here for more information. 
  • Research News: Last week there was a lot of media surrounding research released regarding a compound that stopped cell death in mice with prion disease. Every research lead that opens up, needs to be pursued - however, there is a lot more research that needs to happen between mouse studies and human studies. Watch Dr. Maria Carillo, Alzheimer's Association Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs, on CNN talk about these research findings.  
Easy Chicken Soup for the Soul
This time of year we all end up coming down with the crud. Scratchy throat, ear ache, sinus pain - just a part of the change of the season I suppose. But nothing makes you feel better than a little homemade soup. This soup is a piece of cake, the ingredients are interchangeable depending on what you have on hand. This recipe made enough for W and me, plus 3-4 bowls of leftovers. 

Start by placing 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a Pyrex, fill the bottom with water, coverand bake at 350 until chicken is done. (30-40 mins)

I only had red onion on hand - while not ideal, it actually turned our to be really tasty. I used about 1/2 of the onion. Throw into a pan over medium heat, with olive oil and 1 tbs of butter.

Chop carrots and celery to your preferred size 

Chop the garlic! I like at least three cloves, more or less depending on taste.

Pull out of your cabinet some core spices. I like this com I action for a hearty fall soup! 

Add the veggies and garlic followed by seasonings to the pot with onions. Let the veggies sweat, but you don't want them to cook all the way through. Finally add a pinch of salt and 1/2 tbs of pepper.

Add 1 boc of unsalted chicken stock - depending on how soupy you like your chicken noodle - add 1/2 carton - 1 full carton of water. 

Bring the ingredients up to a simmer and add 2-3 cups of your favorite noodles.

Your chicken should be done about this time - make sure to let it cool for a few so you don't burn yourself. Cut chicken up into small pieces then add to the soup. 

Allow the soup to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Last thing to do is add the peas! They on,y tale about 1 minute to cook. Be sure to season with extra pepper 

I was so hungry, I forgot to take a final picture! 

Until  next week!

Laurel K.

Monday, October 7, 2013

37 Years in the Making

Dear Friends,
I am writing to you on the drive back to Charleston from the Morgantown Walk to End Alzhiemer's. Don't worry, NASCAR Kim is driving, not me! We had an amazing day today as well as yesterday in Lewisburg! Kaarmin and I have had a marathon 48-hour Walktober. We are completely wiped - and simultaneously so energized from all of the teams that we have walked with this weekend - all walking with one mission and one vision with love and passion. 

This past week marked a pretty big milestone in the history of my family. Last Wednesday my parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. 37. As in 37 years. That is a really long time.

I have learned so much from my parents individually (most of which remains a work in progress) tenacity to tackle challenges, true sense of community, love of the journey, how to make pancakes and how to eat them with an egg on top...

But, what has shaped my life the most, my parents taught me together. You see, you don't get to 37 years out of simply luck or by default. Over the years our family has faced enormous challenges. Challenges that in the world today anyone would say it is ok to quit. But they didn't. My mom and dad built their commitment to each other and our family on a backbone made of love. So, when the going got tough, they were bound together by much more than just their wedding rings or vows. When the going got tough, their love for each other and our family got tougher. 

Over the years I have watched my parents sacrifice individually to protect each other and to protect our little family. In a world in which the word "selfie" is actually in the dictionary, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of that kind of love. 

I am not naive enoughto think my parents like each other every minute of every day. But, what my parents have sacrificed for each other in tough times, they have gotten back 10-fold in 37 years of joy, adventure, love, laughter, ME, Emily & Chris.

I look at our family, now expanding to envelop W, Liz & Audrey, I can clearly see, THIS is the true meaning of life. 


  • WalkTOBER continues! We can't wait to see you this weekend in Bluefield and Wheeling! W & I are headed to Wheeling! (Rumor has it we are having dinner at Undo's the night before! Gotta carbo-load right?) Just a reminder Bank Day is Wednesday! 
  • If you are in the Charleston area on Saturday join in on the Party in Purple Zumbathon! The event benefits Walk to End Alzheimer's and will feature a variety of Zumba instructors, snacks and door prizes!! Kids are welcome too! Click here for more information!
  • Thursday we are partnering with our friends at AARP and the Blanchette Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute to present caregiving tips and resources at WVU's Money $mart Conference. We love working with these great partners! 
  • This week we are also setting up a booth at the Senior Center Director's meeting. Senior Centers are vital to our communities, and they are great partners of ours! They play an important role in our outreach efforts about Alzheimer's and caregiving. 
  • We are finalizing our Caregiver University locations for next fall - if you are interested in helping us host Caregiver University in your community, give us a call at 800.372.3900
  • We are going to be rolling out some changes to registration at the Charleston Walk! While the details aren't finalized - you will want to make sure your Team Captain gets to Bank Day so you can bypass the registration line ENTIRELY!! (AH-MAZING!) Details to come! 
  • Find your Walk pictures HERE! 

Throwback: Broccoli Salad
Post-gameday we usually have a variety of food leftover from our tailgate, including veggies! After last game, we had a TON of broccoli. Which worked out perfectly, because we had a little cookout with my parents and my sister before Mountain Stage's 30th birthday concert! What goes perfect with outdoor eating? Broccoli salad! 

Start with the sauce: Mix 1 1/2 cups of mayo (I prefer the olive oil based mayo), with 2 tbs of white vinegar, 2 tsps. of black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Mix and let the flavors meld together while you put together the salad part. 

In a large bowl mix together broccoli and any combination of veggies you like! This week I went with carrots and peas.

Dice a red onion and cheese! You can use shredded cheese, but there is something wonderful about chunks of cheese! 
For the piece de resistance, sprinkle in chopped bacon (or in my case, bacon bits!) and raisins. 

Mix in your dressing, making sure to thoroughly coat everything!

Last but not least! Enjoy! 

Until Next Week! 
Laurel K.