Cathe's Fundraising Page
Many people I know have experienced the loss of a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. I am one of these people. I watched my father go from a vivacious and active hobby gardener and choir enthusiast to an invalid; and from an intelligent, well-spoken, and caring dentist to a person who struggled to find the proper words to express himself. He forgot how to play bridge, a card game he had enjoyed with my mother since their courtship. Once an avid reader, he would stare at the newspaper for hours, not comprehending the words he saw. He often misplaced parts of his personal history; and so many of those memories have been lost forever. In the later stages of his illness, he would mistake my brother for his brother in their childhood. Sometimes my sister and I would be mistaken for each other or for our mother. Sometimes he would know my name, but not that I was his daughter. I watched my mother struggle as a caregiver and her heartbreak as her husband of 60 years vanished piece by piece.
I saw a similar process happen to the mother of a close friend. When I met her, Sheila was already well along her early-onset Alzheimer’s journey. Like my father, Sheila was an active member of the community, a voracious reader, and a gardener. She was a librarian, a teacher, a storyteller, a runner, and a skier. She created amazing perennial gardens at her home, which exhibited a riot of colors that would last throughout the summer. She started becoming unusually forgetful for a woman in her 60s. A host of the other usual symptoms – confusion, agitation, hallucinations – followed the diagnosis. She was unable to discern a weed from a flower and the gardens were neglected. Like my father, she was ill for over a decade before she died. Sheila’s family struggled through the caregiving process and grieved just as my own has.
Unfortunately, our stories are not unique. Currently, more than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to grow to nearly 13 million by 2050. We must come together to change the course of this disease.
By participating in the Camel’s Hump Challenge, I've committed to raising awareness and funds to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association®. During this event, I will circumnavigate Camel's Hump on skis over a 13 mile wilderness route.
Please support my efforts by making a donation. All funds raised benefit the Alzheimer's Association, Vermont Chapter and its work to enhance care and support programs. Thank you for joining the fight against Alzheimer’s disease!