Team Cottle walks to #ENDALZ in honor of the man, myth, and legend that was Brian Cottle.
In April 2012, Brian was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 52. That was the start of our journey with the Alzheimer's and the Alzheimer’s Association. That following month, Chris and Amelia got involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer's as volunteers and joined the Columbia Walk committee. Two years later, Chris became the volunteer event chair for the Columbia Walk and was the event chair for the next five years. In September of 2019, Chris accepted a position as a Walk Manager with the Alzheimer’s Association, he serves the communities of Columbia, Macon and Kirksville.
After diagnosis, our family decided that we would be open and honest about all things Alzheimer’s. There has always been a stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s. It was looked at as something that made you weak or less than a whole person. That could not be further from the truth and we set out to change the narrative.
Brian also got involved with the Association, and it gave him an opportunity to do something to help others in a similar situation, rather than just dealing with the disease himself. It gave him a chance to speak to the community and raise awareness. It gave him a sense of purpose.
For Amelia & Chris, it gave them a chance to meet and learn from others who had been there before us. It allowed us to become active in our community and listen, learn, and help others who didn’t have the time, energy or voice to fight alongside those of us who could.
In the last three years of Brian's illness, Chris quit his job and moved back home with Amelia so they could care for Brian together. It was draining. Caring for a loved one that is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is a full-time job. There are no days off. It feels like it is never going to end. It is extremely overwhelming and it feels like you are on an island by yourself with no lifeboat.
Chris and Amelia had each other and will be forever grateful that they had each other through his illness. They were ‘each other's rocks’ as Amelia likes to put it. So often we forget that there are countless others out there who don’t have a rock to lean on in their journey. They are on an island. Alone.
This is where the Alzheimer’s Association steps in.
They fight everyday to give a voice to the voiceless. To bring care, resources and a rock to lean on for those who don’t have one. Whether it’s the Longest Day, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, or any of the countless events they hold to raise awareness, they are there for you. That is why we continue to fight along side the Alzheimer's Association and we hope you will join us in this fight.
We have raised