When I look back over my life, Alzheimer’s Disease has played a major part in shaping who I am and who I am becoming. In middle school, I helped my grandmother take care of her mother who had dementia (possibly Alzheimer’s). During high school, I worked in a nursing home for Alzheimer’s patients. I loved it; it never felt like work. After starting my own family, my grandmother was widowed and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, so my husband and I moved her in with us and we took care of her for 4 years until her daughters could retire and care for her.
In 2016, I had the opportunity to become the "sidekick" for my dear friend's sister, who had been diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer's 2 years earlier, at the age of 54. As she fights daily against a heartless, relentless disease that continually closes and locks the windows and doors of her mind, I have been her companion. I have learned to finish her sentences and read her wants when words became her enemy. I have been blessed beyond measure by her friendship and by watching her walk out her faith in every kind of uncertainty imaginable. Her strength, attitude, and character inspire me daily.
Mitzi’s greatest hope is that some kind of redemption can come from her life’s most heartbreaking final chapter. She and her husband have graciously given me permission to help be her voice to share her story with the world. Her desire is that, even now, she can be an inspiration and bring encouragement to others who are walking this one way maze of the mind, and that her story can help fight to find a cure for this disease. I am participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® in honor of Mitzi and my grandmother. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease...
Follow Mitzi's journey at facebook.com/iwillrememberforyou.
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