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Dedicated volunteer not deterred by Alzheimer’s diagnosis

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PAYSON, Utah – A Utah man who has spent his life volunteering isn’t letting a troubling diagnosis slow him down.

Vern Gillmore was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and FOX 13 News caught up with Vern earlier this week while he was making deliveries with Meals on Wheels in Payson.

Gillmore said when he volunteers, he sets out to spread cheer.

“I always feel I have to leave them when they have a smile on their face,” he said. “That’s important to me, to make sure they feel a little bit better because I was there.”

Despite the recent diagnosis with a disease that leads to loss of memory and brain function, Gillmore said he doesn’t want to reduce his passion for helping other people.

Kate Nederostek is the program director for the Alzheimer’s Association in Utah, and she said Gillmore is a determined individual.

“He’s one of those individuals that wants to make a difference, so he’s giving back to his community by volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association--as well as other organizations in the area,” she said.

From Meals on Wheels to Red Cross disaster response and even the Special Olympics, Gillmore volunteers with a variety of organizations. He’s also on the Early Stage Advisory Board for the Alzheimer’s Association, and he along with 11 others on the board work to provide information about the disease to the community.

“When I got Alzheimer’s, was officially diagnosed, I became determined that I am going to help other people with Alzheimer’s,” Gillmore said.

And he said he doesn’t intend to stop helping others anytime soon.

“I want to do it as long as I can, honestly in my heart and head, feel that I'm really helping people,” he said.

Gillmore will be speaking at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 6 at The Shops at Riverwoods. The event aims to raise awareness of the disease. Click here for details on the four Walk to End Alzheimer’s events that have so far been scheduled in Utah.