June 7, 2022
Thank you for checking out my Walk to End Alzheimer's page and for considering donating to support crucial research going on right now that aims to end Alzheimer's and other dementia.
I'd like to give an update about my Dad and a little history for new friends who haven't known about our family's journey. In a span of a few short years, Dad went from his regular, friendly, inquisitive, kind, intelligent, active self to being nonverbal and wheelchair-bound. At fault: fronto-temporal dementia. It progressively attacks the parts of the brain responsible for character, interests, tact, memory, speech and motor skills.
I first began to notice a change in my Dad when we were celebrating his 65th birthday at home in Lynchburg, Virginia in December of 2016. Just before his 67th birthday, his dementia had changed him so drastically, we could no longer ask my Mom to work full time and care for him, so our family decided he would receive more complete care in an assisted living facility. Leading up to that, he went through phases where he would often repeat himself, say things that were uncharacteristically thoughtless and forget simple things. Other times, he said little, especially in larger groups. The last moments at our home I got to enjoy with Dad were in November of 2018 when we celebrated my bridal shower. Shortly after, I lost any hope of Dad walking me down the aisle for our wedding in March of 2019, and my dear uncle graciously filled in. I'm grateful Dad got to meet Brad and get to know him for more than a year before his illness made it impossible to recognize his loved ones.
I got to visit Dad over Memorial Day weekend. He has lost weight and gets around solely by being pushed in a wheelchair. He can't speak at all and essentially can't communicate with us or his hospice caregivers. It is truly heartbreaking to see him robbed of the beautiful life he shared for so many years with my Mom and me.
I know there's not a cure out there right now to heal Dad. But I don't want other families in the future to have to deal with this "long goodbye" as they call it, and I myself would like to avoid it as well. Dad's mother, my Memaw, suffered from dementia in her later years, and Mom's mother, my Nannie, died from Alzheimer's. That's why I got involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer's in 2018 and joined the Walk's Marketing & Outreach committee last year.
I'd love for you to join me on October 1st as we Walk to End Alzheimer's in downtown Greenville. I'd also greatly appreciate your financial support. I had the privilege of interviewing a leading researcher with the Alzheimer's Association this spring, and I firmly believe every dollar donated inches us closer to a world without memory-related illness.
Thanks to all of you who continually lift our family up in prayers. We are truly grateful for our family and friends supporting us through this journey.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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