Five years ago, Martha Goodson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The devastating illness not only changed her life, but also the life of her family. But the concern went even further.
Martha’s husband, Royden, is chief executive officer of Warwick Mechanical Group (WMG) in Newport News. When news came that Martha had Alzheimer’s, the employees of Warwick Mechanical rallied and looked for a way to help. They decided to put their efforts toward the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Newport News beginning in 2018. The walk takes place annually in October.
Through bake sales, raffles, a waffle breakfast, individual fund raising and vendor open houses, WMG has raised more than $50,000 since 2018. Money raised for the walk goes to the Alzheimer’s Association. Royden Goodson says that the effort not only raises money, but much-needed awareness about the devastating disease as well.
Dementia is a broad term which encompasses many different types of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent. Dementia was first diagnosed more than 100 years ago and despite years of research, it is still unknown what triggers it and there is no cure. It is a chronic, progressive disease that slowly leads to death.
“Dementia is not content taking the life of the person living with the disease. It wants to also take down the family members providing care. All too often, it is successful,” he says. “One of the reasons Warwick is involved in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to raise awareness of the resources available from the Alzheimer’s Association for care partners for people living with dementia. If we can equip and support the care partners, the life of the person living with dementia will be much better.”
Not only do WMG employees raise money, but between 40 and 50 also walk in the event.
Laura Challoner, sales manager at Warwick Mechanical, is captain of Warwick Mechanical’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, dubbed ALZ in the Family. Challoner does it for the Goodsons, and to remember and pay tribute to her grandmother, Nellie Presson, who also had Alzheimer’s. “We want to help find a cure,” she says.
Martha Goodson, now 63, began showing mild signs in 2015. Royden Goodson mentioned his concerns to her doctor in June of 2015. After a battery of tests, including a CT scan, MRIs and a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), it was determined that Martha had Alzheimer’s. “The official diagnosis was March 4, 2016 but Martha has been living with dementia for well over six years,” he says. In the early years we worked hard to educate our friends about Martha’s condition and the things she needed help with. We lived a somewhat normal life for many years, but as the disease progressed, things changed. Martha moved to a memory care facility in 2019 and that was a sad but positive change. Martha’s days are largely calm and contented. She still enjoys the companionship of friends.”
Warwick Mechanical is built around five key values, Challoner says. One of those values is community. Coming together to help people both inside and outside the Warwick Mechanical family is key. Being involved with Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the perfect way to help a dear member of the Warwick Mechanical family and the greater community at large, she says.
This year’s Peninsula’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for Saturday, October 16. Raising money for the Alzheimer’s walk not only helps an important cause, but it also brings together employees of Warwick Mechanical for a common cause. “It creates good camaraderie,” Challoner says. “When this hit so close to home, people got more involved. Even though we have multiple offices, we are a very tight knit group at the end of the day.”
TO THE POINT:
Warwick Mechanical Group’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s Team
Contact: Laura Challoner, sales manager, Warwick Mechanical Group