Dreaming of a Cure

I’m Sarah Cronin, the new E-Philanthropy Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. Prior to being here, I was an intern at The Make-A-Wish Foundation Georgia and Alabama chapter where I tried relentlessly to impliment social media strategy into their campaign for the Walk for Wishes. I’m not just talking about having a facebook and twitter account, they’ve already got that. I’m talking, google analytics, marketing metrics, measuring, tracking, and testing. I’m talking using social media to create an effective campign, rather than to just tweet. I was talking, but no one was really listening.

Shortly after, I graduated from Georgia State University and proceeded with my first real job search. I’ve known I wanted to work for a nonprofit ever since I knew what one was (which actually wasn’t until my freshman year of college). Thanks to my time in my sorority, I learned my skills lied more in development and fundraising, and thanks to figuring out what I want to do early in life, I had gained a lot of experience in the field. I did your basic fundraising+nonprofit job searches, and came across the E-Philanthropy position on www.OpportunityKnocks.com. As weird as it sounds, it was as if the job description was written to describe my life. The Alzheimer’s Association was already doing everything I wanted to do at Make-A-Wish and more. They saw the value in online communication and had already been investing in it!

I said many times throughout my interviews that this was my “dream job”. At that point, it didn’t even matter if I got the job or not, just the fact that there was an organization who saw value in the same things I tried to enstill value into at Make-A-Wish was enough for me. It meant that I was right, that social media communication strategy did have a place in nonproft, and already had a place for years at the Alzheimer’s Association.

It sounds odd that a 22 year old’s dream job would be to work for the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s is for old people, not 22 year olds, right? Especially since I have never experienced the disease. Both of my great grandmother’s always knew me, my grandparents show no signs of slowing down (I think they’re lying about their age and are secretly in their 30’s), there’s no Alzheimer’s anywhere in my family, so how could I possibly DREAM of wanting to cure Alzheimer’s?

Because Alzheimer’s DOES effect me. 5.4 million people have Alzheimer’s, so maybe I can’t think of anyone at this moment with the disease, but based on the numbers and increases in prevlance I’m guaranteed to have someone in my family diagnosed, or myself. Alzheimer’s is also very different from any other disease, it kills YOU before it kills you. Your entire life gets taken from you long before your life ends. It’s awful to lose a loved one, but it’s got to be a different kind of awful to lose them while they’re still here.

So, I care because I have to care. I don’t want to live in a world where it’s considered “natural” for millions of people to suffer from Alzheimer’s. I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I cannot imagine a more worth cause.

“If we wish to know about a man, we ask ‘what is his story–his real, inmost story?’–for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us–through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives–we are each of us unique.”
-Oliver Sacks

No one deserves to lose their story.

-Sarah Cronin

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