Meet the Staff – Eric VanVlymen

1. What is your favorite thing about being the Executive Director?

Meeting and working with some of the most passionate and dedicated people who care so deeply about ending Alzheimer’s and  serving others.  Board members, team captains, helpline volunteers, advocates and staff!  Their passion serves as fuel as we strive to move our mission forward.
 2. What is your hope for our chapter?
My hope is that within 5-10 years we will simply need staff to educate people on early diagnosis and getting connected with a treatment.  Until then I hope we work toward a cure, inspire more game changers, partner with more physicians and serve more people!
3. What advice would you give someone who is either a current caregiver or just received a dementia diagnosis?
 Grab hold of the diagnosis, take the lead, and tell others.  Don’t pretend that this is “just aging.” When families don’t accept the diagnosis it leads to problems.  Take the lead.  Sign up to participate in research, become an advocate, and tell your story.  Share your diagnosis.  Times are changing and people do not need to suffer in silence.  Some of my favorite family stories are when people share the diagnosis and learn that people are willing to help.
4. Why should people support our cause?
Why people should support the cause:  Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death without any way to slow, cure or prevent the disease.  Furthermore, Alzheimer’s will triple in the next 35 years to 15 million people affected by the disease.  And lastly, Alzheimer’s is the costliest disease over both cancer and heart in America.  The time is now because we cannot afford to wait.
Why people should support the Alzheimer’s Association:  No other organization has the global leadership in advancing the science working internationally with governments, funders, pharmaceutical companies and leading scientists.  Locally, no one serves more people affected by this disease through our network of 80+ chapters.
5. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love reading (spy novels and business books), being with my four children and wife doing just about anything, and serving the Lord through our marriage ministry at church.
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