UNI Alumna leads Alzheimer’s fundraising effort in Twins Cities
2019 Women of UNIBusiness Hall of Fame honoree, Sally Mainquist (Accounting ’80) wants to paint the Twins Cities purple on Sept. 28. Not necessarily Panther purple, but the official color of Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a fundraising event hosted by the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
As the chair of the Walk, which helps raise money for Alzheimer’s research and treatment, Mainquist has mobilized co-workers, peers and even fellow UNIBusiness alumni in the area to participate.
The cause is personal for Mainquist, who saw her mother suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s in her 50s. Mainquist, who is from Fort Dodge, watched her mother struggle in the last years before she passed. Even today, it’s a hard subject to talk about.
“After a while, they forget how to eat, they forget how to do everything,” Mainquist said. “It took me several years to talk about it without getting teary-eyed, and I’m fighting back tears right now.”
“It took me several years to talk about it without getting teary-eyed, and I’m fighting back tears right now.”
While attending a financial executives conference in the Twins Cities area in 2016, Mainquist connected with someone on the board of the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. A few years passed since her mother died, and she wanted to make a difference. She joined the board and has been active ever since.
“It had been a while since my mom passed, and I needed to put my big-girl pants on and do something,” Mainquist said.
She’s passionate about fighting the disease and can rattle off facts. Alzheimer’s disease is a top-six killer in the United States, and it’s the only one without a cure. More people die of Alzheimer’s every year than breast and prostate cancers combined. At the company she co-founded, Veritae Group, an accounting and finance consulting firm, about 40% of employees knew someone affected Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s why this walk is important, Mainquist said. It creates awareness for just how wide-ranging the disease is.
“We want to bring a lot of people together for a cause that isn’t talked about much,” Mainquist said. “It’s a pretty uplifting environment. We want to shorten this disease. We want a cure. We want to educate people. It’s a very beautiful day.”
This year is a first for Mainquist. She’s never chaired the Walk, but is excited for the turnout. She expects 12,000 people to attend and has raised money herself. As of early August, Mainquist’s group has raised the most money, bringing in more than $22,000.
The Twins Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s starts at 8 a.m. Sept. 28 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
You can register or donate here.