Why I Ride: as a 14 year old I clearly remember going with my grandma to visit her mom, my great grandma, in a nursing home. I can still remember the smell and see the room where my grandma faithfully visited her mother who had NO idea who my grandma was. I was very aware that my grandma was afraid that a nursing home was where she would be someday.
I was extremely close to my grandparents. They supported me in ways I could never repay them They helped me get a college education. It was in college that I distinctly remember telling my grandparents I could never repay them but I promised I would not let them go to a nursing home. I am sure they thought I was a young idealist and this would never happen.
In January of 2014, 16 years after I had made this promise to them, my grandfather fell and broke his hip. My grandma had become a different grandma, one that couldn’t be left alone at home safely. She often forgot things. My grandpa needed surgery and my grandma needed someone with her in order to remain in their home. I flew from Minneapolis to Aberdeen, South Dakota immediately to be with my grandma. I went on to care for both of them of 2.5 years.
Although my grandma was a different grandma, she was still my grandma. I could tell she was not remembering and she knew it. That was difficult to watch. As her dementia progressed she needed help with basic living skills. I was blessed to be able to take care of her.
My grandfather passed in February of 2016 and my grandma was lost without him. In July of 2016 I was attempting to help her eat and she shook her head “no.” She was done. Just a couple weeks shy of 98, my grandma passed. When we received the death certificate it read “cause of death: Alzheimers. Her body was healthy, her mind was not.
I am determined to go the distance for all those affected by Alzheimer’s. More than 5 million Americans are living with this disease, with 16 million family members and friends who provide them with care.
Right now, there is no shortage of ideas in Alzheimer’s research — only dollars. Which is why I am asking for your support.
With each mile I ride, I am raising funds to advance research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.
I am doing this for my grandma. I want to continue her legacy of love and care for others.
Your donation in any amount would be greatly appreciated.
Together we can make a difference!