Peggy Titterington G.O. '81 was called to a career in the performing arts, working in marketing and development roles with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Ballet and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, among others. But seven years ago, she yearned for a career change-something that would let her serve families in need.
Titterington never imagined herself working for a disease-related cause. Yet her professional connections led her to the Alzheimer's Association. Now a major gifts officer for the Alzheimer's Association, Titterington recently secured funding to launch Silver Search, an Amber Alert-type system for adults with dementia who are missing.
It's a vital service, considering that 60 percent of people with dementia wander during the course of the disease.
"I have been raising money for a long time, and I can honestly say that this is the most meaningful gift I have ever secured," Titterington says. "In fact, there is a Silver Search billboard near our home. When I have a bad day, I drive by it for a quick pick-me-up."
Silver Search, passed into law in January 2016, is a collaboration between the Illinois State Police, the Alzheimer's Association, the Illinois Broadcasters Association and several other organizations. It launched throughout Illinois in November 2017 and has been funded through 2019.
How Silver Search Works
When someone with Alzheimer's or dementia is missing, Illinois residents can report it to law enforcement. Officers register the missing person at www.silversearchillinois.org, and the information their loved ones provide is distributed on social media, billboards, highway signs and at all Illinois lottery terminals. The Silver Search program also provides law enforcement training and has a public education component to it.
It's the most comprehensive program of its kind," Titterington said. "No other state has the breadth and depth of this program." Titterington hopes that Silver Search saves lives, raises awareness for Alzheimer's disease and more widely promotes the resources that are available for those impacted by the disease. "I also hope that Silver Search becomes as useful in Illinois as the Amber Alert system has become," Titterington says. "I would love for it to serve as a model for a nationwide program."