ALZ has impacted my life in two very visible ways.
My paternal grandmother, or should I say my Busia, was diagnosed with ALZ about 7+ years ago. Through those 7+ years, I have watched my once talkative and enthusiastic Busia become quiet and reserved. Today a conversation with Busia is patiently answer the same question from a few minutes ago, over and over, or her not talking at all. Busia now lives in to the memory unit at St. Mary’s and she has been doing so well. She adjusted better than any of us thought that she would right from the beginning. She is so at ease and comfortable in her room, surrounded by photos of us. She participates in the crafts and activities, and can always be found socializing with the other residents at meal times. She happily sits in the main living room doing her puzzles or watching the movies on TV. Every time I visit we get to video chat with my mom and dad and she is always so amazed by it. Most importantly, we all have more of a peace of mind knowing that she is eating three times a day, is staying hydrated, is well taken care of and above all is safe at all times. Over the last couple of months, however, it is apparent that her Alzheimer’s is progressing and she engages less with us when we visit.
Unfortunately, she is not the only one of my loved ones battling this disease. While not ALZ, my maternal grandfather, my Papa, suffered from vascular dementia for the past three years. Where my Busia can’t remember things and stays pretty quiet, my Papa was quite talkative, though nothing really made sense. In his mind, I have been a part of the CIA, a golf announcer, a hockey announcer since I’m so good at pronouncing their French names (mind you I’ve never taken a French class), and a have interviewed to work with the New York Giants for a starting salary of 1 million dollars. In reality, as many of you know, I am a Chemistry teacher at Mercyhurst Prep. This past June, my Papa went to be with the Lord and the love of his life who waited almost 30 years for him.
My family and I have adopted the motto that you have to laugh at what you can because if you don’t you’ll cry.
The people I met through the ALZ Association of Erie have been nothing short of fantastic. They have given me advice, offered support, and checked in with me well after the walks came to an end. My family found the ALZ Association as a valuable source of information and inspiration.
So, while I can’t help my Busia to remember, and couldn't help my Papa to make sense of his thoughts, I can do this. I can join in the #Walk2EndALZ, I can advocate for ALZ research, I can volunteer my time to this wonderful organization, and I can hope and pray for a cure.
This September, for the fourth year in a row, I'm helping reclaim the future for millions by participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's. 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.
The end of Alzheimer's disease starts with you. Please consider making a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention, and ultimately, a cure. Our team hit a milestone of $10,000 raised in three years and are continuing to increase our total! We are hoping to raise at least $4000 this year! And if you are up to it, I'd love to have you walk with me on my team, Busia's Bunch & Papa's Peeps! :0)
Thank you for joining the movement! I appreciate it more than I could ever express!
#EndALZ #Walk2EndALZ #FamilyIsEverything
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
I have raised