From staff reports
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A 2006 Clay-Chalkville High School graduate will be running for Alzheimer’s awareness in January.
Kimberly Crawford, who now lives in Pensacola, Fla., recently visited with friends and family in Alabama to share about her goal to raise money for Alzheimer’s Association of America. During the visit she shared her passion for helping raise funds for Alz.org.
Her story is a personal one of how the disease has impacted her family and touched her.
Alz.org states that more than five million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias. It also states that Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death.
Crawford has seen the effects of the disease first with her great-grandmother, Clara Clements. Over the past three years she has seen dementia impact her grandfather, Kin Dodd, as it has slowly taken away his independence. Crawford recently asked herself, “What would it be like if the memories that I have made over the years just started to disappear?”
In January she will run the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Fla. A marathon is 26.2 miles, which she said “sounds pretty crazy.” Over the past two years she has run four half marathons, but decided to give herself a new challenge and take the efforts to a new level.
“I chose to run my first marathon while 26 years old,” she said. “I thought this would be significant for so many reasons – mainly, that I would run one mile to celebrate each year of my life and create a special memory with my family to last a lifetime. What a blessing it is to have 26 years of joy, laughter, fun and memories. When I thought about how my run would be celebrating 26 years of memories, I began to think about my ‘Pop’ and ‘Big Mama.’ I thought about how Pop no longer has so many of the memories that many of us still treasure, about how he is no longer making memories with us, although he is presently with us. I decided that I no longer wanted my run to be about me; I wanted it to have a true purpose.”
Crawford has joined Alz.org to raise money for the cause. Funds raised will go toward funding awareness, research and help for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
Crawford said she hopes people will remember and pray for those that are impacted by the disease.
“While I will be making memories participating in this run with my dad and have the support of family members during the event, the most rewarding and most important aspect of the run is raising funds to battle this crippling disease,” she said. “I hope many people will join me in ‘my 26 miles of memories’ to support Alz.org.”
For more information, visit http://act.alz.org/goto/26milesofmemories.
Crawford graduated from Auburn University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders. She earned her master’s degree in speech-language pathology in 2012 from the University of Mississippi. She works now as a pediatric and adult speech-language pathologist at a hospital in Pensacola, Fla.