As I mentioned last year, I plan to simply add to our story each year so those who have been with us throughout our journey can just read this year's update. If you’re just getting to know us, you can read about previous years. Jan continues to inspire me with her perseverance, energy and love of life. From her first big speech in 2018 in front of over 600 people (see link at the very end) to her inspirational video presented at this year's Dallas Gala (she continues to amaze me.
We're excited to get back to Dallas City Hall for this year's Walk to End Alzheimer’s on November 6th. We hope you can join us in person, but last year showed us that you can walk anywhere and still make a difference! The loneliness and isolation that everyone felt throughout the last year is what many people affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers continue to feel every day. The Walk is obviously a big fundraiser, but it is also an awareness campaign. We need to make people aware of how woefully underfunded this health crisis is and also how many people really need help. We often hear that family and friends do not get involved when someone they know and love becomes affected by Alzheimer’s because they don’t know what to do. I have a simple solution to jumpstart you into action. Just show up and show you care. Many times people just need someone to talk to who will take the time and listen to what they are struggling with. Those conversations can often lead to more clarity on other ways to help. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that isolation can destroy us.
Please help us be a part of the solution in finding that first survivor of Alzheimer’s who will proudly carry that elusive white flower. We can’t do it alone!
I’ve decided to just add to our story each year. 2020 has proven to be a year we will all remember for the rest of our lives. My prayer is that we all learn from this experience and come back with even more resolve to have an impact on the lives of others. The isolation you feel due to the COVID-19 virus is what many Alzheimer’s caregivers have felt since their loved one was diagnosed. Please remember them when we eventually go “back to normal”.
We have been blessed over the past year with Jan’s continued good health. We are currently serving on the Executive Board of the Dallas and Northeast Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The inaugural formal gala was held in Dallas on 2/29/20 just before everything shut down due to the virus. That was such a blessing because, besides the Walks, this was one of the biggest fundraisers we have.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and the only one in the top ten that is increasing. Between 2000 and 2017 deaths from heart disease decreased by 9% while deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145%. Let that sink in for a minute. This effort is drastically underfunded and the cost to our nation is going to be overwhelming if a cure and treatment are not found soon.
My goal this year is for everyone who reads this to share our story or simply tell at least 10 people something they now know about Alzheimer’s. Time is critical and we can’t do this alone.
Please be sure to scroll down and click on Jandy’s Clan walk page to learn more about Dr. Don Coney, who we are dedicating this year’s walk to.
Our first experience with Alzheimer's disease was with Jan's mom, Marilyn. She was diagnosed in 1999 and passed away in 2005. We learned a lot about strength, perseverance and love watching her dad, Donn, care for his wife. In 2013 after trying to determine why Jan was struggling at work, she was diagnosed with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment). MCI can either be the precursor to Alzheimer's or it can be a milder form of it. We are obviously praying that it is the latter for Jan.
We have decided to do as much as we can to educate people about this dreadful disease that is affecting more people and at younger ages than ever before. We are convinced that Jan's relatively early diagnosis has allowed the available medications to help curb her cognitive decline so far.
We are actively involved in the Alzheimer's Association and served as advocates in both Washing DC and in Austin to convince our lawmakers to fund as many programs as possible. Jan has served on the National ESAG (Early Stage Advisory Group). We are also facilitating a support group at our church. This is not a journey anyone should try to do alone.
Our goal is to be advocates by sharing our story and trying to educate people to reduce the stigma of dementia. We believe that will encourage early diagnosis which is critical to controlling the impact of dementia. Jan is a great example of what an early diagnosis can do to fight this disease.
Jan and I have always felt we were a team with support from our family and friends, so we have named our walk team Jandy's clan. The Walk to End Alzheimer's is the biggest fundraiser for research, support and education. Please join us by walking in the Dallas walk on October 5th, donating to our team, praying for those affected with Alzheimer's or continuing the education process by sharing our story with others. If you do nothing else, please go to alz.org, learn something you didn't know about Alzheimer's and share it with a friend or family member.
May God bless you for helping with this cause and may we find that first survivor of Alzheimer's disease soon.
I received a copy of the speech Jan gave at the NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees) convention in June 2018. I haven’t figured out how to edit it yet so for now just fast forward to 9:30. The speech is about 15 minutes long. https://youtu.be/bzsF5EobH3M (you may have to cut and paste). Anyone who worked in our missile factory back in the 80’s and 90’s should really be able to relate to her closing remarks.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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