This will be our 10th year as a family doing this walk. To date, we have raised $118,200 towards this walk and this cause. We're hoping to reach $140,000 this year with a goal of $21,800. Please help us in working towards finding a cure for this terrible, terrible disease.
I wanted to start off with a piece that my mom wrote about her mom (my grandma).
"Alzheimer's disease is the most horrible disease I have ever encountered! It robs a person of their independence, their ability to reason, to remember (including their loved ones) and sadly, their dignity. I know this because I experience the devastating effects of this illness every day in my job. I am a hospice social worker. I attempt to assist families in navigating through the downs (there are no ups) of this illness each and every day. It is heartbreaking to watch the families work so hard and become so very discouraged and frustrated as they lose their loved one in slow, agonizing, pieces daily.
I do not, however, just know this disease through my work; it has touched my family on a very personal level. Both my grandmother and my mother suffered from this illness that destroys families. My grandmother did not know her family for quite some time before her death, We visited and she seemed happy for company, but had no clue whatsoever who we were. My mother knew her children until the very end, but very sadly had severe dementia related behaviors. She became angry and even violent. This was not my mother; she became a stranger to us in so many ways. It was the most heart breaking thing I have ever encountered in my entire life. My mother was angry because we didn't visit ( I visited her almost daily) as she could not remember our visits. She yelled at us to take her home even though she could no longer understand what "home" was. This was sad enough, but she came to believe (due to the sick,sneaky nature of this illness) that her food was being poisoned so she refused to eat. She would no longer sit by a window, because she may be shot at and when a nurse tried to provide care my mother might just bite, pinch or punch her. Our hearts continued to break because we couldn't fix it for her and had to just watch helplessly as she descended into a world of fear, strangers and hallucinations. She would throw away her clothes and her jewelry because she believed it was not hers. She believed her mother and father to be alive and therefore became angry that she could not see them. No explanation satisfied her. All we could do was to distract her with something else and pray she would calm down. I felt a lump in my throat every time I entered my mothers room because I had no idea which version of my mother would be awaiting me. Every once in a while, she had a good day; I treasured these rare occurrences more than I could ever describe.
I am writing in past tense because my mother lost her battle with Alzheimer's on November 11, 2015 at 3:08 A.M. in a quiet dark room on the hospice floor of a hospital. I was with her as one of her favorite hymns played on my phone that was lying on my her pillow. 'How Great Thou Art' will forever take me back to that fateful night when we lost our beloved mother to this illness that robbed her of everything. While I have never been so sad, I also felt some happiness. I was happy that my mom no longer had to be locked in the prison that had become her life. I should say her "existence" as this was not living in any way. We know our mother is finally at peace, but not a day goes by that we don't think of her and miss her. The intensity of my love for her is equaled only by the intensity of the hate I have for Alzheimer's and what it did to her and does to millions of families each and every day. Funds to help find a cure and to help families to care for their loved ones continue to be cut at the same time the illness continues to grow in very scary numbers. If you have not yet been touched in some way by this life changing illness, I can say with certainty that you will be someday. I continue to pray for all families touched by this disease and will continue to work to raise funds because this disease has got to end. No one deserves to watch their loved one be taken away in such a slow and cruel manner that can literally last for years, Please consider donating to this very worthy cause and help us wipe Alzheimer's out for good! Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart!"
I'm walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®, I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research, care and support.
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.
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