McKissock Steps Up in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s

Cathy Southwell, Carmen Bevacqua, Erika Wagner and Sandra Erickson representing team McKissock in the Walk to End Alzheimer's in 2021.

WARREN, Pa. – McKissock is walking the walk.

The Warren-based business started a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team due to the personal impact the disease has had on many of their employees. They also joined other area businesses in a competition to raise the most money for the Association’s mission.’

Despite the Walk being virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19, Team McKissock rallied and clinched the top spot for fundraising in the challenge. Now they are throwing down the gauntlet in this friendly competition for another business to try taking the traveling trophy.

“With the walk actually in-person this year at the end of September, we’re getting the awareness out and inviting more businesses and family and friends to get involved,” said Jennifer Brownlee, Manager of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

For McKissock team captain Erica Wagner, it was simple.

“It all started because of Carmen,” she said.

Carmen is Carmen Bevacqua, a committee member who has a very personal connection to the disease.

“My father had Alzheimer’s and passed away last May,” he said. “We created a team in dedication of my father and to collect funds to hopefully find a cure. We’re waiting for that first cure. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Added Wagner: “We started it because of Carmen and realized much further into it how many people, even within the company, are incredibly affected by it. It means a lot to us.”

And every little bit helps.

“We’re just trying to help with these fundraising activities,” Bevacqua said. “It’s one of those that, we’re trying to get the word out more. Nobody likes to talk about dementia or Alzheimer’s back in the day. We know a lot of people here that have it. I have to applaud team McKissock here for such an excellent effort and awesome fundraising.”

McKissock raised over $5,000, with Pamela Herman being the companies biggest donor.

“The money is used for Alzheimer’s education, training sessions where a professional held classes looking for early warning signs, as well as a caregiver support group. But most of the money does go to research, noted Bevacqua.

“The walk enables the family of the individual that’s been diagnosed way to fight back against the disease,” Wagner said.

The Purple 4 A Purpose – Business 2 Business Challenge started in 2019 with the help of Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry. The challenge is straightforward, businesses form a team, raise funds and compete for the coveted ALZ trophy.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Betts Park.

And of course, they are looking to hand out that elusive white flower, which would represent a cure. There are different flowers that are carried which represent different things.

Carrying a purple flower means you lost someone to Alzheimer’s. Carrying a yellow flower means you are a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Carrying a blue flower means you are living with Alzheimer’s. Carrying an orange flower means you support the Alzheimer’s Association.

“We’re still hoping to hand out that first white flower,” Bevacqua said.