The fourth annual Night to Remember fundraising event was held on Sept. 16 at the Green Room in the city of Plattsburgh, sponsored by Ellen’s Rebellion. Sisters Sarah Cronk-Duquette and Laura Cronk were inspired to make a difference, when their mother Ellen was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in May 2011 and formed the Ellen’s Rebellion team to fight back.
“Our mom is the type of person that would want us to fight for what we believe in and we knew immediately that we were going to do whatever we could to raise awareness and funds.” Laura Cronk said. Since Ellen’s diagnosis, the Cronk family has accomplished a yearly fundraising goal of $7,500 to $10,000, with a collective total of over $50,000 over the past six years.
One of the aspects the Cronk sisters always want to emphasize is how dementia affects not only the person, but the entire family. Awareness for the disease is their number one priority. “People don’t talk about dementia. They don’t talk about how it affects the family, and how it affects the person, and we do.” Cronk said. Being vocal about Alzheimer’s and dementia is crucial to the family’s ultimate goal in raising awareness.
All the proceeds the Cronk family raised benefitted the TAADC, where Ellen has been taken care of for almost six years. “That group of people that take care of Mom on a day-to-day basis are our family.” Cronk-Duquette said. The money is used for extra activities, such as apple picking, field trips into town and other commodities for the patients.
In order for more involvement, the Cronk family encourages PSUC students to attend or witness the Walk to Remember happening in just a few weeks. “We walk right through campus,” said Cronk. Cronk works at SSS here at PSUC, and wishes more students would get involved. “This is a center that is right in Sibley. It’s right there, and students are walking past it every day.” Most students don’t know the impact that Alzheimer’s and dementia can have on the campus community.
In addition to online donations and other fundraising events, the family participates in Plattsburgh’s annual Walk to Remember every September to spread awareness and raise funds sponsored by the Third Age Adult Day Center at the Center for Neurobehavioral Health in Plattsburgh. This year’s walk is on Sunday, Sept. 24. In past years, the parade often featured a spokesperson to lead the walk and be represented as someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
However, that changed in 2014 when the Cronks were officially recognized.
“When Laura and I came along, being sisters, they [could not] split us apart, we’ve always been this duo.” said Cronk-Duquette. That year, the Cronks were the first official “spokes-family” to walk the parade. Cronk-Duquette says the Ellen’s Rebellion team had about forty people as “a mob of yellow” in their yellow Walk to Remember T-shirts on the parade route. Since then, the parade has honored a “spokes-family” every year.
The Cronk family can be seen as a powerful force of commitment and perseverance in the Plattsburgh community. To find out more about how you can get involved or donate to their cause, visit their Facebook page @ellensrebellion. Take the time to be aware of such a common disease, and with the love and support from the Plattsburgh community, maybe someday Ellen’s Rebellion will win their own fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Email Emma Valleunga at firstname.lastname@example.org