By Walk Day 2021, it will be TWO years since my Momma was freed from the horrific claws of Alzheimer’s. I still try to form words to describe the journey. Still working to further the mission towards a cure, and prevention. Still praying that our efforts are in line with God’s Will for relief from this disease that takes over so many lives—emotionally and financially. And to be honest…I’m still grieving.
Many might know my family’s story with Alzheimer’s. As a 3rd generation Lebanese-American, each generation of my family, on both sides, has been stricken with a form of Alzheimer’s disease. I have lost THREE of the most amazing, influential women in my life to ALZ. Now in our 7th year of championing the #ENDALZ cause in our community, I want to share a different side of 'why I walk to end Alzheimer’s’.
What we know about Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and each of its forms and variations, is that every case differs. And the disease strikes YEARS BEFORE SYMPTOMS. Oftentimes, a DECADE BEFORE a first symptom. When I think back to when I recognized my Sitty’s (grandmother), and my Momma’s first ‘out of character’ symptom, they literally take my breath away. After experiencing two caregiver journeys with them intimately, the lag of time and space that occurs between the first symptom/moment and the next, are enough to talk you down from the ledge you’re on. But, it’s just the beginning of a lonely, heart-gutting journey.
When I noticed their first symptoms:
- My Sitty was in her early 60s.
- My Momma & Aunt were in their 50s.
- And by the time they were both 65 (just in time for Medicare), they were gone.
- I turned 46 this year.
- I now know my genetic makeup for this disease.
- My three children are still in grade school.
- Jonathan and I pray that I see a different outcome—for our children, for him, and our little world.
Alzheimer’s hasn’t been given the attention it deserves for far too long. We’ve experienced decades and decades of inadequate AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING and debilitating SHAME. We NOW are gaining the ATTENTION we NEED to INDUCE CHANGE and REAL SUPPORT… and God-willing, A CURE.
I’m on a personal mission in my own brain health journey. As a prevention patient with the Brain Health & Research Institute over the last year, I’m doing all the things we know to do at this time. And I’m not ashamed to share my story.
I will always be an ADVOCATE for the Alzheimer’s Association and the value they deliver to this fight. Because I am in this fight myself, and so many others. As a certified health coach, I am now able to help others in their own personal health journey.
It’s more than just personal. For my husband. For my children. For everyone that’s ever experienced the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. For these three amazing women:
~ Karen Domit Stephens ~ Rebecca Perry Domit ~ Janice Stephens Adams
And, for Myself. Please join the movement!
Make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure to #ENDALZ. For the millions of us already affected by this disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources desperately needed in our communities.
HELP US #Walk2EndAlz
Much love, health and blessings, from my family to yours.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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