From a young age, Samantha Rader experienced the pain of having a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Her father, Gene Rader, was diagnosed in 2016 with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 73.
When the pandemic hit, Samantha temporarily left her home on the Upper East Side to take care of her father in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In addition to care, she enrolled her father in an adult day care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, which helps him with socialization. “It’s been bittersweet to be home, but I’m grateful to have the time with my Dad. We have had a lot of laughs and I’m glad I can help my mom care for him,” said Samantha.
To honor her father, Samantha led a virtual team for the Manhattan Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, October 24.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s walk helped raise funds through small teams on virtual walks around Manhattan. For the second year in a row, Samantha walked with her mother, Gail, and brother John. As the recruitment chair for the event, she encouraged family and friends from across the world - and other parts of Manhattan - to get involved virtually to support the cause.
“While the walk is different this year, the support from my friends and family is very meaningful after all the pain the world has experienced during the pandemic,” said Rader.
“We had 17 family members and friends gather at a park where my siblings and I had a lot of memories with my Dad growing up,” she said after the event. “We had friends and family walking throughout the day in over 10 states, including New York, Pennsylvania, California and Florida. While it was not the same as walking with thousands of people, it was special in its own way to be able to walk alongside loved ones virtually.”