I'm walking to help reclaim the future for millions, but more than that, I'm walking in honor of my mother, Karen Perini, who is currently battling Alzheimer's, and in honor of my father, Dale Perini whose love and care for her never ceases to humble me. I'm walking in sincere thanks for those who support our family and stand by us while we take this long, difficult, slow journey with my mother.
Mom was always there for our family, always in our corner, and she would never hesitate to drop everything for her family or her friends. So, now, it's our turn to emulate her, to be what she would be if the situation were reversed.
This is for you, Mom. I carry you in my heart. As do all those whose lives you touched.This if for you, Dad. Because watching you care for Mom--your dedication, devotion, loyalty and unwavering love, remind me that vows mean something and that honor does exist. You are my hero. This is for my brother--who, while he and his family live far away from us--would be here on the next plane if we needed him. That kind of unqualified certainty is a truth that cannot be underestimated. He is our rock. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have the family that I do. I am blessed every day because of them.
AS AN ADVOCATE
When Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, I didn't know much about it. Over time, our family learned. Our main source of information and support has been the Alzheimer's Association. I don't know what we would have done without them. Dad took their Savvy Caregivers class and began attending support groups. Apart from the education and personal support, they were the ones who helped my family realize--finally--that we are not alone. Those connections have helped us navigate this unwanted and heart-wrenching journey. The Alzheimer's Association's vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all dementia. I pray for that day.
The more I learned, the more I realized how many were affected by dementia, the more I vowed to be an advocate for those with all types of dementia--and their families and caregivers. What could I do? Well, one thing I am is an author of romantic thrillers. Our family's journey inspired me to write a book, Forgotten Secrets (A Singing River Novel) .
Forgotten Secrets is not a book about Alzheimer's. It's a romantic mystery/thriller that revolves around a mysterious kidnapping. However, the only witness to the crime is the victim's grandmother. And she has Alzheimer's disease. My hope for this story is it will entertain while raising awareness and understanding for families battling this disease. In addition, I donate 10% of the royalties I receive from all of my Singing River Novels , to the Alzheimer's Association. It's my way of saying ''thank you' to the organization that has helped us so much and a way to support finding a cure or treatment. For Mom, for everyone.
#1 MEMORY CHALLENGE
While writing the Singing River Novels, all I ever wanted was to do my mother justice. I pray I have done so, but once the book was completed, I realized I wanted to do more, something that would impact more people. So I went back to my own life. What is my greatest desire--and regret--in regards to my mom? I so wish that I could talk to Mom again. I long to share memories, to ask her questions about her life as a child, growing up, as a young woman--I wish I could learn from her. I wish I had listened more carefully to everything she ever said to me.
I can't do that. However, I can share my memories of my mom with loved ones--particularly her youngest grandchildren who never really knew her when she didn't have Alzheimer's. But it's more than that. What about my memories? My experiences? I realized I can also share my own memories with loved ones. I can record them so they won't be lost. And I can encourage others to do the same. Because once those memories fade (whatever the cause), they are gone.
I decided to challenge friends and family to do the following:
* Record a memory through a video, photo and/or writing a story. You could even record a series of memories if you’d like.
* Post 1 memory on social media and Challenge 2-5 others to share a memory and tag them.
* Give them 24 hours to accomplish the challenge or to donate to the Alzheimer's Association (or another dementia-associated organization).
The #1MemoryChallenge didn't go viral, but it was a success for me personally because my dad began recording videos for the grandkids, to give them advice and wisdom. For our family, those videos will always be priceless. He will also be recording a few videos for my mom, so the kids will learn to know the amazing person their grandmother is.
To those of you reading this, I share my heart, my memories, my vision, my soul through my fiction writing and through the #1Memory Challenge. You can do the same.
I want to challenge each and every one of you to take the #1MemoryChallenge. For yourself and your loved ones. Share your memories. Pass them on. Hold your loved ones tight.
And consider donating to the cause. The Alzheimer's Association's vision is a world without Alzheimer's. I pray for that day.
FACTS ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND 'THE WALK'
By participating in the Alzheimer Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer's(R), I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's research, care and support. Did you know:
* Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's Disease.
* Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
* Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050.
* Today, 16 million people are serving as caregivers for those 5 million afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease.
Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE CAUSE
I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.
Thank you for joining the movement! The end of Alzheimer's disease starts with you.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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