Lighthouse Volunteering Spotlight: Sarah's Story


July 9, 2018

By Sarah Barsky-Harlan

In addition to hosting Lighthouse-sponsored volunteering opportunities for our employees through the Lighthouse Cares program, Lighthouse offers each full-time employee Volunteering Time Off, or VTO, to participate in nonprofit activities outside of work. Below is one example of a dedicated employee leveraging that time to participate in their community and give back to a cause that is near and dear to them.

Last month my wife's father passed away after a 9-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Before I met my wife and got to know her family, I didn't personally know anyone with Alzheimer's and didn't know much about the disease or how it impacts so many Americans. There are no words to describe the tragedy of watching a loved one slowly deteriorate, with no viable treatment options available to slow the progress of the disease and no cure on the horizon.

I'd like to share some startling statistics about the disease:

  • In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer's every 65 seconds.
  • More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States
  • It is the only top 10 cause of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed
  • In 2018, Alzheimer's disease will cost the United States $277 billion and this number is projected to rise to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050

Every year my wife and I participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, which raises money for The Alzheimer's Association. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer'sÆ is the world's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research.

The Seattle walk will take place this year on September 29 and anyone with interest in attending can register for the event by clicking here.

In addition, for those interested in learning more about how to participate and fundraise there is a PNW Alzheimer's Association Breakfast that takes place Thursday, July 12th. The breakfast is an opportunity for the Alzheimer's Association to share their fundraising expertise with you and to connect you with philanthropic-minded people in Seattle. The event starts at 7:30 and is expected to last until 9 a.m.

For more information, please feel free to reach out to me at

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