This walk is personal for so many reasons. I'm signing up for my friend Tracy, who has not only been a good friend, but has been an amazing source of support as we both deal with life as the child of a memory impaired parent. Tracy's mom is now free of the clutches of her disease, but my dad fights on.
I've been pretty quiet about my dad's Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis. I felt it was nobody's business, and I loved him the same post-diagnosis as I did pre-diagnosis. He will always be my dad, and nothing else matters. Eight years post-diagnosis, I no longer feel the same way....I love him more than ever because there's nothing else I can do for him except to love him. As Lewy Body Dementia, the same disease that led Robin Williams to commit suicide, ravages my dad's mind and body he remains sweet and compliant the vast majority of the time. I still talk to him and visit him...and I can still make him laugh and smile which is all that matters to me.
But these diseases don't only affect the victim....my stepmom has devoted herself, heart and soul, 24/7 to caring for my dad and I see the physical and mental toll it's taken on her. I don't know how she keeps going....but she says it's her Jersey attitude and her love for my dad. It takes a toll on Rob as he does his absolute best to understand what I'm going through as I watch my dad change.....I love him for it, but it's so hard for anyone to understand who hasn't lived it. I saw my grandpa fight a similar fight, and now my dad is going through it.
So I walk for my dad.....I walk for my grandpa....I walk for Tracy's mom.....and I walk for everyone, patient or caregiver who lives with this nightmare.....I walk for every family member who just doesn't know what to do. But I also walk for the doctors who treat and counsel.....the researchers who study and hypothesize and evaluate....the professional caregivers who have dedicated their lives to helping complete strangers.
Please support me on my walk. Every donation - no matter how small - is that much closer to understanding these beasts, which will lead to treatments and eventually, a cure.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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