From Habitat for Humanity to the Alzheimer’s Association, NetApp is one of the leading companies that offers a unique opportunity for full-time employees to give back through their Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program. The programs allows all full-time employees to take up to five business days of time off with full pay to volunteer with a nonprofit organization, a school, or participate in other community volunteer activities.

For the past five years, NetApp employees have supported the Alzheimer’s Association through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the nation’s largest event to raise both awareness and funds to fight the disease. Proceeds from the walk go to support groups for those living with the illness as well as research programs that help detect early warning signs of the disease and educational programs for caretakers and those living with Alzheimer’s.

With more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today, caregivers have put in an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care last year. Thomas Stanley, SVP and GM Americas at NetApp explained on GovDataDownload that many people don’t think about the toll the illness takes on loved ones and caregivers.

In his experience, Alzheimer’s “impacted me very differently as an adult, not only to see my wife go from being a caregiver to our children to taking care of her father, but also to see that there were warning signs of the disease that we did not necessarily realize in it’s earliest stages.” The disease is projected to rise exponentially in the years to come, so raising awareness and educating community members is more important than ever to ensure proper care for people living with the disease.

Shelie Brooks, Federal Field Marketing Manager for NetApp USPS lost her grandmother to Alzheimer’s and attends the event each year. As she says, “Since losing my grandmother to Alzheimer’s, supporting the Alzheimer’s Association has become very important to me. I appreciate the fact the NetApp is also a nationwide sponsor of the Alzheimer’s walks each year.  We are a sponsor of the Reston, Virginia walk, which I will be walking in on September 24th. NetApp encourages everyone here to participate in some sort of community service, it’s very motivating.”

Melanie Collum, US Field Sales Ops team lead at NetApp adds “I walk in support of all those who suffer with Alzheimer’s. Specifically for Elsie, mom, grandmother, friend. We must find a cure!”

You can take the first step by finding a Walk near you. Once you register, you will have access to a wide range of tools and support through your customized Participant Center. Join the NetApp team and others as they lead the way to Alzheimer’s first survivor. As Stanley has said, together, “I believe the work we continue to do with the Alzheimer’s Association bring greater awareness to this devastating illness, so one day we live in a world free from it.”

The Northern Virginia Alzheimer’s walk begins at 3pm in Reston Town Center on Sunday, September 24, 2017.

Registration begins at 1:30pm with an opening ceremony at 2:30pm.

Find your walk here.