Claudia Knowlton-Chike supports the Alzheimer’s Association
in honor of her father, Dick, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2019. She has
developed a four-part approach to encourage her coworkers at Google to join
Dad’s diagnosis sheds light on Alzheimer’s
Dick Knowlton, the former Chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods, was a very talented businessman. Starting from poor beginnings, he knew the value of hard work. He loved people, treated them with respect and always had a never ending instinct to reach out his hand in friendship.
Even after his diagnosis in 2009, he remained comfortable talking
to people. “Before Alzheimer’s he was
able to remember everyone’s name,” shared Claudia. “As the disease progressed,
he wasn’t able to remember names, but he still had that glint in his eye as he
reached out and shook your hand.”
Dick helped to raise awareness for the disease by being
transparent about his diagnosis. “It’s something we should talk about, and
something we should raise funds for” Claudia stated. “Dad helped the
Alzheimer’s Association raise funds to seek a cure.”
Claudia’s parents were married for 64 years. Claudia’s
mother took care of Dick all by herself for almost 11 years. The last year of
his life she had help in the evenings. Dick died in February.
“It was just a true love
story,” Claudia said lovingly. “She
never felt sorry for herself or complained. She just loved him, and to her that
meant taking care of him, no matter what.”
Asking her coworkers to get involved
Claudia is the Senior Director of Global Logistics for Google in the Sunnyvale office. She and her co-captain Maxwell Wallace, who works in the San Francisco office, are heading up the Google teams for the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Walk to End Alzheimer’s events.
Claudia shares the four-pronged
approach she is using to get her fellow coworkers onboard:
Inspired by father’s generosity to ask others to give
Asking for donations can be a hard thing for many people. Claudia is sending out emails to friends, family and especially to fellow coworkers.
“I start my emails by asking
if they know anyone who has been affected by the disease,” shares Claudia.
“Then I get them to think about the fact that there is no cure and remind them
of the financial burden it puts on families.”
Claudia’s mother and father were proactively working to find a cure. “They invested in research and education for caregivers,” Claudia said. “It costs money to find a cure and it requires each of us to reach into our pocketbooks to make that happen.”
How companies can give back
Many companies encourage their employees to volunteer their time for a worthy cause. Google is no different. Here are two ways Google shows their employees that the company cares about causes that are important to employees:
To find out if your company has a matching gift policy visit
our website here,
or speak with your local human resources representative.
Favorite part of Walk day
“I love spending time with friends and remembering those that have been affected by the disease,” shares Claudia. “The whole feel of people coming together for a cause like this, you feel a lot of love.”
Claudia stays focused on the vision of the Alzheimer’s
Association, a world without Alzheimer’s. “The whole reason for coming out is to help the current state of
the disease and fix it for the future,” says Claudia. “We’re all doing
something good that makes a positive impact.”
You can join Claudia’s team, Team Google, or form your own team and join us for the Silicon Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 12 at the Arena Green in San Jose. Not in San Jose? Find the Walk to End Alzheimer’s near you at alz.org/walk.