Editor’s Highlights: Debra Morgan’s Volunteerism

By Gayvin Powers

What was the “aha” moment that made you want to be a part of Alzheimers North Carolina?

More than 10 years ago, I was fortunate to be in an audience for an awards presentation. Part of the program included a discussion about the support Alzheimers North Carolina provides to the patients and families living with this terrible disease. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to join the board. I’m proud to say we have the most experienced, caring and knowledgeable staff. And our training techniques are used across America as THE way to provide this specialized care.

Has Alzheimer’s affected anyone you know?

Unfortunately, too many people. Experiencing the heartbreaking diagnosis and progression of the disease with friends and their families is very painful. When I was younger, my grandmother had dementia and she would frequently wander. It can be a frightening and confusing time for a family, not knowing where to turn to for help. Over the past couple of decades, thanks to organizations such as Alzheimers North Carolina, we have a better understanding of how to care for patients and their families.

What is the greatest gift you received by doing volunteer work/giving back?

Without a doubt, seeing how the efforts of our neighbors can change lives. Obviously, a lot of pain surrounds some of my charities. For example, I’m elated so many people became aware of ALS this past year with the fun of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The reality of this disease is absolutely horrifying. I’ve been saddened by the loss of friends and feel the frustration of not yet finding a cure for any number of the issues. However, the successes are plentiful. The relief of family members of an Alzheimer’s patient when they find the appropriate support system, the alleviation of a financial burden for people battling cancer so they can focus on their treatment, or a hug from young adults I’ve known since they were little children now leading full and active lives with juvenile diabetes are the best gifts I can receive.