It’s hard to imagine but Alzheimer’s disease has been a part of my family for over 17 years. My grandmother, Annie “Jo” Ward, was the first to be diagnosed. She was an amazing woman with many talents who loved to stay busy. My grandmother would sit for hours, at the kitchen table, working on crossword puzzles. She also loved to work in her yard. Eventually, Alzheimer’s robbed her of being able to do either of those things. She was a great mother who loved her children and grandchildren deeply. Alzheimer’s robbed her of the ability to recognize those she most loved. When she passed away a little over two years ago, she was bedridden and unable to communicate.
Sadly, a few years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His decline has been quick and he is currently being cared for at an assisted living facility. It saddens me to know that our family will once again have to experience “the long goodbye”.
One of the worst aspects of dealing with Alzheimer’s is the feeling of helplessness. That’s where the Walk to End Alzheimer’s comes in for our family. There was little any of us could do for my grandmother and very little we can do for my father-in-law. But, we can WALK! We can walk in memory of those we’ve lost and in honor of those living with the disease. We can raise money to support the programs of the Alzheimer’s Association. We can walk in support of research that will one day provide treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. We can walk because it gives us hope.
Annie “Jo” Ward
My name is David Lamb. I walk in memory of my Grandma Octavia Josephine Lamb who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away from the disease back on January 26, 1998. I also walk in honor and memory of my great Grandma Ina Agnes Howard and my great Uncle Larry Howard, both of whom passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease took a significant toll on my Grandma, she went being able to remember everything, to labeling items that were placed around the house, to ultimately becoming a vegetable in bed in which she could no longer walk or talk. But as anyone who has dealt with a loved one that has Alzheimer’s, the disease just doesn’t affect one person, it affects many.
Upon my Grandma’s diagnosis my family took over the role of being her caretakers. We went from taking care of her ourselves, to having an at home nursing assistant care for her, to moving her to a family run nursing home, and to ultimately a 24 hour skilled nursing facility. There’s simply not enough words in the dictionary to describe the emotional and financial toll that my family endured.
Today, I volunteer with YAAA! (Young Adults for Alzheimer’s Awareness), to bring more awareness about the disease and its devastating impact and in hopes of one day that we can find a cure so that we can all see a world without Alzheimer’s.
My Grandma Octavia Josephine Lamb and My Grandfather.
My beautiful intelligent Mother was diagnosed in her 60’s. She passed away from this cruel disease 10 years later. Some of her siblings also had Alzheimer’s. The end of this story is that I have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s. I walk for my Mother who was taken away too early.
I was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) last year and my condition has progressively gotten worse, along with my test scores. When we talk of the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s I’m at a 3.
The Seven Stages – Stage 3
To those who do not understand what this disease is like I hear, “I misplace my keys all the time!” To that I say, “Walk a day in my shoes.“
I will walk to raise awareness and money for research not only for myself but to eliminate what our Care Partners and family are going through now and what they will go through in the future. I have been there with my Mother and now I am my Mother.
Sharron and her husband Tom
My mother died with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in 1999 after many difficult years. My mother-in-law also died with Alzheimer’s in 1989 after 12 years of decline. Mary, then my wife of 48 years, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in Sep of 2001. What had been a wonderful life together became a nightmare. It was like starting life all over again, but with different rules. Dealing with numerous doctors, tests, medications, and Mary’s loss of ability to do even ordinary things and exploding with unheard-of behaviors turned life upside down. It was devastating to Mary, physically demanding and expensive – Alzheimer’s disease ended a wonderful life. This beautiful, talented, gracious, special lady just wasted away. Worse, perhaps, was the knowledge that 100 years after Dr. Alois Alzheimer defined Alzheimer’s disease there was and is no cure – nothing that even slows Alzheimer’s or helps much. It’s like falling into a bottomless pit with no escape.
I walk to raise funds to find a cure and to raise awareness of this awful disease. I Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I walk because “One Day There Will Be A Cure”.
I walk to honor my mother who has sacrificed seven years to this disease.
I walk to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and to encourage people to speak more freely about this disease.
I walk to raise money to support the programs and services that the Alzheimer’s Association provides to families living with this disease.
I walk to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, believing that one day we will have a method for prevention or cure for this disease.
I walk for my children in the hopes that neither of them will lose a parent to this awful disease.
My Brain Matters – This movement to celebrate women’s brains is influenced and inspired by The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s. It calls on 1 million women to use their amazing brains to help wipe out Alzheimer’s disease. We need the power of each woman’s brain to help solve this problem — and to take action in the fight.
Vote for us in Senior Advocate’s contest to recognize outstanding regional Non-profs! Click here to vote: http://www.senioradvocateonline.com/newsDetail.php?id=60