Sara Gearheart is a dedicated daughter who visits her father regularly in the memory unit of a New River Valley senior living center. She encourages him to sing with her, and dance a little, and she always coaxes a smile from him. Mr. Gearheart has Alzheimer's disease, so all of these little accomplishments are pretty big victories. Sara also routinely raises money to fight the disease through an event called the "Walk to End Alzheimer's," and shares information through campaigns like Go Purple.
In 2009 when it was time for her to walk across the stage at Emory & Henry's commencement, she was resigned to the fact that her father couldn't be there for her big day -- but she got more than a diploma on that occasion.