Introducing The Garner Foundation

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A little over a year ago, someone approached me and told me I was in the wrong profession. They had watched me at some Alzheimer’s events and had watched my videos. Then they called me and told me that I should be using my drive and my passion to help others. Actually, there was more than one person over the course of about a year who made this suggestion.  I knew what they were saying was true, but I didn’t know how to transition from my current job into starting a non-profit. I can’t afford to just quit my job to volunteer without any income. I wish I could.

Like most founders of non-profits, I had no idea what to do or where to start. So, we met with an attorney. I called people. I met with professional fundraisers and other non-profits. I did research online. In the meantime, I worked full time and have continued taking care of our family. I haven’t been able to focus on the foundation like I would like, therefore it has taken much longer than it should have and much, much longer than desired. Plus, it took over 9 months to get the 501c3 status approved. That’s ok. I can feel the momentum and I can feel something greater than myself pushing me towards the path I am supposed to be on. It has been burning inside of me, unable to be ignored and for those of you who have been reading this blog since I started, you know how and when I figured out what I am meant to do. You know I have been dreaming about this for a very long time. I found my purpose in this world.

I am proud and happy to say THE GARNER FOUNDATION is official. I have a board that is supportive, understanding and who all are passionate about helping dementia families. We have already raised over $7,000. But it will take much more than that to do what we want….

Our first focus will be help with Elder Care Attorney consultations. The plan is to set up a network of attorneys who will help families recently diagnosed so finances can be put in order. This is a very important, but costly step. We were fortunate enough to find a great attorney to help our family, but only after visiting two others who were not qualified to assist us with our specific situation. Part of setting up this program will be educating doctors on how necessary it is for patients to be told it is imperative they contact a specialist in elder care law.

Secondly we are going to offer respite care. Any caregiver knows how important this is and what an impact a break can have on the health of everyone involved. I haven’t found any insurance company that covers this and it is extremely expensive.

And finally, Make a Memory family vacations. When we finally figured out what was wrong with Jim, I had him put together a bucket list. But finances were limited since I needed to save for his care, he was no longer working and I was making half of what he used to bring in. I searched high and low for a way to get help fulfilling Jims’ bucket list and for our young family to take a last, memory making vacation together. But I couldn’t find anything. We eventually did make a spectacular trip to Alaska, but only after we saved for over two years and got some help from family and friends (and even a few strangers). Not everyone is so fortunate and I want to change that.

Each item The Garner Foundation is going to help dementia families with is something I have witnessed firsthand that is needed and will make a difference in the lives of so many. I will still advocate in Washington. I will still write about our story. I will still do whatever I can to promote awareness and educate the public on this national crisis. But I am going to do more. For all of you. Because I can. Because I have to.

A website is currently under construction; You can visit this landing page and make a donation or to sign up to get notifications. There is still a lot of work to do but I am confidant this is my destiny and therefore, we will be able to change the paths of many others who are struggling each day just like we are. Your support and help spreading the word is needed. If you know someone who can help, please share. If you work for a company that can help, please ask them to. If you can’t ask them, let me know who to contact and I will. If you just want to send words of encouragement, please do so. We will need all the help we can get.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (13)

13 Responses to “Introducing The Garner Foundation”

  1. Shirley says:

    Yay Karen! What a perfect organization! I have wished for something like this! I wish we had had something like this so that Wayne and I could have gone away before things deteriorated so badly! You and I even talked about this at one point! So proud of you for helping those like yourself who are fighting this God forsaken disease!

  2. Paula says:

    Wonderful news, Karen! So excited for you. I remember speaking to you about this at Women’s Group. I know you are going to do amazing things and that people are going to be blessed by your passion and pursuit. Blessings!

  3. Angie says:

    Thank you for taking the time (especially with your already full plate) to help others. This journey is a long and difficult one. A journey best if traveled with others that walk the same path, wearing the same shoes. Your knowledge and compassion will help so many.

  4. Molly Miles says:

    I’m so thrilled for you Karen!! Been reading your blog “missing jim” for quite some time now. Gives me comfort, as I’m a daughter of a women with Early onset Alzheimer’s.. One of the youngest cases in Ohio :( Karen you have a way with words, you make me feel like I’m apart of something. Like we are all in this fight against Alzheimer’s together! <3

  5. Catherine Kelley says:

    Congratulations! You will do a great job and happy you follow your passion!

  6. Sandy says:

    Sometimes something great comes out of something terrible. You are an inspiration Karen!
    Wishing you all the best!

  7. Joan says:

    Congratulations Karen! what a way to honor Jim and provide a legacy for others! Kudos and good luck with it!

  8. When one door closes another one opens. If I can help by writing letters I will. My mission is to help through my book and writing other family members who have someone with Alzheimer’s.. What a surprise for me and my family I’m 84 and busy responding to others that are in the trenches with Alz. Congratulations Karen you are a dedicated wife and mother to take on this new adventure. I hope you get paid for your time.

  9. Catherine Wasukanis-Newby says:

    I live in Detroit. I watched my mother for 8 years with this disease – she lived with my family. She is now in a facility. I will help in any way I can to help.

  10. Rona Altschuler says:

    I am so proud of Karen who while juggling the challenges of her life is focused on the bigger picture of helping others and letting her voice be heard loud and clear. It is now our turn to help the Garner Foundation become a reality. I am proud to be on the Garner Foundation Board and will continue to fight for awareness and a cure. Stand tall Karen Garner you are making a difference.

  11. Andrea Spencer says:

    This is wonderful. Your foundation will be a great blessing to so many families!

  12. Nancy says:

    Thank you, Karen! Finally I have found a sister in this fight!! My husband has dementia and I am working also. Lost friends and co-workers don’t understand the hours away from work. Support groups are made of older people and don’t work. I’m always told to quit work and take care of him. Guess they want another person(s) on the street. The same black cloud that follows Karen follows me too! Karen, read about you in the Newport News Daily Press (I live in Newport News). Contact me! Have a blessed day in a bleak/frustrating day!

  13. Mariarose says:

    Wow – congratulations and thanks!

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