I stamped off the snow from my boots. It was February in Chicago. I was there for my cousin’s wedding. As I entered a relative’s house, a short woman with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes grabbed my hands. She looked straight into my eyes and said, “Your grandmother saved my life. I wouldn’t have had a career or a house or a life without her. She took me in when no one else did and believed in me when no one else did.”

That was my grandmother. Born in 1911, she raised four kids: one during the Great Depression, two during the war and its aftermath, and one during the civil rights movement. Through it all, she fostered over 200 children, and she was a journalist, in a time before women really worked in newspapers.

She was my hero. In the last few years of her life, her memories of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and her understanding of where she was at in space and time slipped. She started swearing like a sailor. She thought my brother was the crazy drifter, George. Dementia changed her and the last years we had with her. This is why I’m participating in The Longest Day program with the Alzheimer’s Association on June 21, in her memory.Every single day people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias face a disease that has no cure and no survivors. The Alzheimer’s Association raises vital funds for research and support services so that people affected by the disease don’t have to face this disease alone.

The Longest Day is all about Love. This year, I’m celebrating my love by taking a sunrise hike with my friends and Personify colleagues, in memory of my grandmother. She was a woman of service both in faith and in action, and this is how I want to remember her.

At Personify, we’re committed to helping nonprofit organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association fulfill their missions leveraging technology solutions (and caring teammates) to help their organizations grow. We believe that the power of community has the power to change the world.

Learn more about The Longest Day and how you can make a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.