I remember many memories with my Pepa, collecting state quarters and reading from "The Daily Bread" booklets. Pepa always had something for me whenever he'd visit. He always wanted to have some type of hobby with me and I think I was sometimes too young to appreciate it. From Elementary school to early college, I'd come visit and he'd say, "Hey there little girl, how's school?" I started going to church when I was 14, and he was so happy when I did. He'd sit with me and we'd discuss how he wanted all his grandkids to know Jesus. He'd tell me to pray for them all and he'd make it a point to remind me every time.
When he was diagnosed, I don't think I even knew until his symptoms of forgetting became more and more apparent. The last time I saw him, I was at my cousin's wedding. No one was surprised by how he looked, but the time away at college made his rapid loss of weight and significant delay in responses overwhelming. I knew God had him in his hands, but the thought of him not remembering Jesus made me sad. The mother of the bride played on the piano "How Great Thou Art" and Pepa remembered the chorus and sang along loudly. I couldn't control the tears down my cheeks and knew it was a sign from God that he was going to be ok.
Long story short, Alzheimer's is an unfair way to pass away. Forgetting your loved ones, not being able to take care of yourself, getting frustrated at yourself for forgetting. It almost feels like a cruel joke. In knowing this disease is genetic, I want to make sure my aunts, my dad, my siblings, myself, and future generations don't have to face the same fate as my Pepa.
I'm walking because I'm thinking of Pepa and wanting to help lead the way to Alzheimer's first survivor. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 14 million by 2050.
I'd love for your to join me October 17th for the Walk to End Alzheimer's and/or donate to find a cure! We're thinking of you Pepa! Love you lots!
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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