Empowering Communities

ComEd Employees Support Alzheimer’s Research Through Year-Long Effort

November 21, 2023

Powering lives means more than just keeping the lights on. ComEd has made significant, ongoing commitments to support the communities we serve through programs and charitable commitments. Beginning in 2022, we asked employees to weigh in on the organization or cause the company would support with a year-long campaign through our “Cause of the Year.”

For 2023, ComEd employees chose to support the Alzheimer’s Association and its mission of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. That support was in the form of education—as employees learned about Alzheimer’s and dementia and challenges facing patients and caregivers—as well as fundraising through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in DuPage and Chicago and other donations.

The Alzheimer’s Association supports all aspects of the Alzheimer’s journey from providing funding for national research advancements to facilitating community and support for individuals and families navigating Alzheimer’s in their daily lives.

This work is especially important because the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and dementia is growing quickly and there is currently no cure. More than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050. The impact on communities is significant, as 83 percent of the help provided to Americans with Alzheimer’s comes from family members, friends and other unpaid caregivers who provide an estimated 18 billion care hours a year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s has the potential to impact anyone regardless of age or socioeconomic status, and many of ComEd’s employees have felt the impact of Alzheimer’s in their lives, which has inspired an incredible amount of support.

Mark and his father on vacation at Lake Tahoe

Mark and his father on vacation at Lake Tahoe

The 2023 Cause of the Year effort was led by Mark Baranek, vice president of Projects and Contracts and interim senior vice president of Technical Services. Like many others, Mark and his family have been impacted by Alzheimer’s. His father struggled with the disease in the last few years of his life, and it was a very difficult time.

“It’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s affects people in their entirety — their mind, their personality and their physical body. Not only was it sad to see my father change and struggle during that period, but it was also difficult to see the impact it had on my mother who was his primary caregiver,” said Mark. “I look forward to the day when we have a cure to this painful disease and am so appreciative of ComEd and Alzheimer’s Association community for supporting families and individuals navigating this disease every day.”

Throughout the year, other ComEd employees shared their connections to Alzheimer’s disease.

Sholanda on her wedding day with her mother

Sholanda on her wedding day with her mother

Sholanda Holden, a customer service representative on the Customer Care team shared her experience with her mother’s diagnosis.

“My mother was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 65 in 2017, and then Alzheimer’s disease in late 2018. We knew something was going on because little-by-little she was starting to forget things. I didn’t know much about the disease at the time and I wish I did,” said Sholanda. “Watching her transition and not be able to do much about it was the hardest thing in my life. She lost her battle a week before my birthday in 2019.”

In September and October of this year, nearly 500 ComEd employees, family members and friends joined the ComEd team at the DuPage and Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s events. Together with members of the community, our team showed their support for Alzheimer’s research and raised over $116,000 for the cause. The walks were emotional and empowering and built upon the year-long educational opportunities ComEd employees were provided to learn about Alzheimer’s disease. Employees were invited to attend informational sessions throughout the year to learn more about:

  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • 10 warning signs for Alzheimer’s
  • Overviews of Alzheimer’s research
  • Effective communication strategies to use when speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s
  • Healthy living tips
  • How to navigate the holidays around someone with Alzheimer’s

While we are nearing the end of the year, the fight to end Alzheimer’s continues. Many of our employees continue to be impacted personally and will continue to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s search for the cure.

We are so proud of the employees that have helped make the 2023 ComEd Cause of the Year a success.  If you are interested in being part of this mission, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website to learn more.