I am walking in honor of all the residents of Stanley Total Living Center who currently are fighting Alzheimer's Disease and in memory of all those residents who have lost their fight.
I am walking in honor of all the family members who have loved ones at Stanley Total Living Center--they struggle to understand "why my loved one" and "why my family" yet they are there through it all.
I am walking in honor of all the staff at Stanley Total Living Center who provide care for those with Alzheimer's on a daily basis--those who show patience, love, kindness, and understanding to those who cannot control what this disease has done to them.
Most importantly, I am walking in memory of my grandpa (Popie)--Billy Morrison. He was admitted to Stanley Total Living Center in April 2015 after a brief illness/hospitalization in which he was diagnosed with Alzheimers' dementia. Over his 41/2 years at STLC, I witnessed his mental and physical decline take its toll on him and our family. As an employee of the facility, it was not easy to see him go through this every single day--I left work many, many days in tears because I knew there was nothing I could do change his situation and witnessing the decline was harder than anyone can imagine. As difficult as it was, I feel so fortunate to work where Popie lived and that I could spend that time with him, even if it is just a few minutes each day here and there. Every morning when I got to work and would go to see him, my day would be immediately better because he would raise his hands up to hug me, smile a huge smile, and always say "there she is". He would tell the staff "this is my first grand baby" and he was always so proud just to say those words--and I was so proud to be that first grand baby. He was he first person in my immediate family diagnosed with Alzheimers' and it was extremely difficult to see the person who was once the strong patriarch of our family diminished to a shell of his former self--to watch him slowly wither away and forget everything around him. As he got closer to losing his fight with Alzheimers, he would look at me and not be able to find my name but he still smiled at me and I still saw that same love in his eyes. Popie passed away peacefully with family beside him at STLC on December 22nd, 2019. Now I walk through the halls every day when I get to work and while I get hugs and smiles from the other residents who I have always considered to be family, I miss my Popie so very much. While I miss seeing his awesome smile, getting his big bear hugs, and seeing how proud he is to tell everyone who I am, I am so happy that he is no longer suffering with Alzheimer's disease and he is in a much better place watching over me--I hope that even though he is not physically here with me, he is still proud of me and that when I get to see him again, he is going to say "there she is" and that first big hug is going to be the best one I have ever had.
As a nurse in long term care, I have always cared about making a difference in the lives of those fighting Alzheimers, but having experienced this myself has now given me even more reason to care--even more reason to raise funds--even more reason to spread the word--even more reason to fight!! Our friends and our families are worth this fight!!!
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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