For Kady Luchetti, a medical-surgical nurse at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association is personal. Her grandmother, who passed away in 2016, lived with the disease for years, and Kady shared the rigorous job of caring for her. “It’s difficult — not just because it takes a lot of time, but because it is painful to see a loved one fading away,” she said. “As a caregiver, you can’t let that take over. It’s important to be there 100 percent for the person you love.”

Her convictions about the importance of dignified care for Alzheimer’s patients and support for their caregivers led her to volunteer with the local branch of the Alzheimer’s Association, and her involvement keeps growing. It started with the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held in Moosic each October. Kady and her family’s team of more than 30 people walk each year. They raised $4,000 last year, and have set a goal of $5,000 for this year’s event. Kady’s favorite part of the walk is the opening ceremony, where walkers hold flowers to represent their loved ones while tributes are read. “You see so many people holding flowers, and you know that you’re not alone,” she said.

Through contacts made at the walk, Kady became a volunteer advocate for the Northeastern Pennsylvania branch of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Alzheimer’s is the only one of the top 10 causes of death for which there is no treatment and no cure, so research and funding are critical,” she said. Recently, Kady was asked to join the organization’s Congressional Team, and traveled to Washington, D.C., for the National Alzheimer’s Forum from March 26 to 29 to meet with Congress about the concerns of Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Kady has been chosen to read the roll call at the event for the state of Pennsylvania.

“It’s an honor for me to do this, both in memory of my Grandma and to help all of the others still fighting,” she said.