This will be my 9th year walking in honor of my mom. What drives me to continue on this journey is experiencing first-hand as a caregiver, how this disease continues to take away my mom, leaving a shell of who she once was. Our roles are reversed now, I take care of her like she took care of me as a child. I still hold on to those memories and was blessed to have a great role model in her.
This year we recently lost someone special in our lives. Paul was a father figure to me and my siblings. He was 96 and still had great long-term memory although his short-term memory was starting to fade. He was a great storyteller and remembered details that many others would have long forgotten. When Paul would see my mom and try to have a conversation with her of course it was one sided. That made him sad along with the fact that she could no longer remember him or recognize any of her kids. He also saw the decline of other close friends living with Alzheimer's and he did not want others to have to experience that loss, so along-side my mom, I am dedicating this walk to Paul, who knew how important and precious memories are.
If you are in a position to contribute now or any time during the year, it is a gift that we all will benefit from because none of us are immune to Alzheimer's disease or any form of dementia. Donate at: http://act.alz.org/goto/MaryFus.
Heartfelt thanks to those supporting me over the past 9 years on this journey. Until we have a way to slow its progression, a way to prevent it, and a cure, this journey continues and I remain grateful for your support.
I continue to share my story every 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. She doesn't recognize her 5 children any longer, but she seems to still know our names, so we hold on to that for as long as we can.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised
Walk Committee Member