Photo credit: Karen Sondermeyer Bogert
By Steve Sears
Bloomingdale’s Chloe Bogert, honoring the loving memory of her Grandma, Patricia Sondermeyer, will for the first time be soon walking to defeat Alzheimer’s disease.
The 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled to take place on October 17th. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, every walk this year will be virtual, so Bogert is gathering her friends and family to walk around the lake area near her home.
Bogert, who is a member the Bergen\Passaic WTEA (Walk to End Alzheimer’s) Logistics Subcommittee, had as of mid-August raised $1,125 for the cause, and she hoped to raise a total of $2,500 and become a Grand Elite Champion. Her team, “The Bristal at Wayne,” has a total of eight members.
“I actually joined the committee in October (2019),” she says, “because I started working a year and a half ago at The Bristal in Wayne, New Jersey, which is an Assisted Living Center. I’m part of the Recreation Department there, and my boss’s daughter, Kayla Klinzing, is the Chair Committee member for the Alzheimer’s Association (Greater New Jersey Chapter), so that’s how I got into it. I was going to these meetings, and it was so fun, and I had a motivation to do it because of my Grandma, who was still living at the time.”
Patricia Sondermeyer passed away in February of this year. “There is just so much relationship there,” Bogert says. “My family, we all live within five minutes of one another. My uncles are like my second fathers, my aunts are my second mothers, my cousins are my siblings. We grew up just having so much fun together, going on so many family vacations, and there was like thirty of us in one little house, and we made the best of it.” Sondermeyer was always making baked goods, showing home videos, always took pictures, wrote down little quotes that her grandchildren would say, was a scrapbook creator, and tracked down everything in many memory books. “And she completed so much of her genealogy – about 40 years of genealogy – that was like her whole life.”
“That’s Pat Sondermeyer in a nutshell.”
Per the Alzheimer’s Association website, www.alz.org, 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The website explains that “Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.”
Bogert, of course, has seen and felt the effects of Alzheimer’s up close. “Working in The Bristal, what came to be such a vivid point , also with my Grandma as well, it’s heart-wrenching to see, and I think it’s more painful for the family and loved ones around the person with the Alzheimer’s or the dementia, going through the whole journey with your loved one who is suffering through it. You know how they were, know what they did, and for them to not be able to do those things anymore, or to see them and see their memory being driven away from them, it’s gut-wrenching.”
Sondermeyer made her granddaughter realize her passion in taking care of geriatric members of society. She encouraged Bogert to attend school and study social working and become a recreational therapist. She feels well at home at The Bristal in Wayne. “She made me realize what my true intentions were,” Bogert says, “and she helped me figure out my future.”
Bogert thinks her Grandma from above is supporting her 100%. “I know she’s probably beaming down from heaven right now,” she says. “and probably has tears in her eyes as do I right now, but I think she’s really loving everything that we’re doing.”
Bogert’s ultimate goal for her life is service. “One of my goals is to honor my Grandma in this way, and to spread awareness and fight this disease.”
You can either register by becoming a walker, or donate to Bogert’s team, “The Bristal at Wayne,” via www.act.alz.org.