Alzheimer's disease has taken away too many of our loved ones. This disease not only takes them away once, but twice. The first time, as their memories and life as it once was begins to fade, until many times they don't remember who you are, and then again, when they leave this life.
I can't thank you enough for being on this journey with me, many of you supporting my efforts since I started this team 8 years ago. You are amazing because it will take all of us to make Alzheimer's disease and all dementia's a thing of the past.
Progress is being made and your support continues the momentum that has been gained over the years in increasing awareness and support programs and of course, much needed funding for continued research so that there is a way slow the progression of the disease, cure it and find a way to prevent it.
There is hope for the future, I know, but it can't come soon enough. We all have lost too many loved ones already. Each year that passes, I lose something more of my Mom and she needs more of us. It's not an easy road for her nor for our family but a road that we will continue to go down with her because after all she is Mom, the one that lovingly once took care of all of us.
I continue to share my story each year but my story is really my Mom's story. It's the reason why I walk.
It was only a few weeks before my 7th birthday that my Dad passed away, leaving my Mom to raise five children between the ages of 7 and 13 on her own.
Mom, full of love for her kids, her faith and extended family and friends, not only worked hard to bring up her own children, but extended herself and whatever she had to help others. She was always grateful for what she had and did not focus on what she did not have. She shared our home with others until they could get on their feet; she not only took care of her grandkids while their parents worked but she also took in other kids that also needed a place to stay while their parents worked.
Mom taught herself to cook and loved cooking for others. Whether she cooked for her family or for friends or church events, often for a crowd of 50 or more, she did it effortlessly, and with love. If you were fortunate enough to know my Mom, you know what a strong, dedicated, giving and active person she was. Alzheimer's disease has taken away her ability to live independently; to do the things she enjoyed in the past; the ability to cook and to venture out of the house on her own, and sadly, the ability to retain precious memories.
Most of her memories now are in the moment, so fleeting - lost within minutes, even seconds. As the disease continues to progress, basic things we take for granted are forgotten, and confusion taken to another level. Last year she could remember that she has 5 children but now we're lucky if she can remember our names.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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