My name is Rahul Jilakara and I Walk to End Alzheimer’s to raise awareness about the disease and to change the future for my generation.
I began volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association in St. Louis in 2012. In 2013, my family and I moved to Richmond and I continued my volunteer efforts with the Greater Richmond Chapter. This year, I was honored and excited to be part of the Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee.
Since I began volunteering, I have met so many wonderful people at the various Alzheimer’s Association support groups I’ve attended. People full of life and energy. Yet sadly, Alzheimer’s has slowly stolen that from them.
I am currently a junior at Deep Run High School and although I do not have a direct family connection to the disease right now, many of my friends and classmates do.
My classmates and friends have shared stories about how their grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle or other family member with Alzheimer’s can no longer recognize them. They shared their sadness with me and they’ve explained the emotional impact it has on them and their families.
I realized I could do more to help find a cure and support those affected, so this fall I started an Alzheimer’s Awareness Club at my school.
I recognize that in the future, it is extremely likely that every single person currently in my high school, or in high schools around the country, will know someone personally with Alzheimer’s. Maybe their parents. Grandparents. Themselves. Maybe even me.
It is my generation that can change the course of Alzheimer’s, and we have to. It is our future at stake.
The Walks to End Alzheimer’s may be over, but there is still time to donate.
Get involved and make a difference for the millions of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias!
Northern Neck – Middle Peninsula: Donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_NorthernNeck
Fredericksburg: Donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_Fredericksburg
Tri-Cities: Donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_TriCities
Richmond: Donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_GRVA