First, I want you to know, I did not start walking for anyone in particular. I walked 5 years before my father was Diagnosed with Alzheimers.
MY PERSONAL STORY; MY MOTIVATION; MY DAD
This will be my 10th year walking. Really, I have never been directly affected by Alzheimer's personally until five year. My grandmother died of dementia. And yes, they thought there might be a connection to ALZ. But we never learned that for sure. Dad however was diagnosed with ALZ several years ago and last year he was transferred to an ALZ ward in a facility.
Sadly I had not seen my father in more than 12 years as I have had responsibilities here in Kentucky taking care of mom, and a variety of other issues.
I did make time in 2016 to visit him there though. It was an eye-opening experience. Having not seen him in so long, the differences were amazing; terrible.
It took a long time for him to remember me. He was so frail; so weak. He walked so slow and nearly fell several times. We spent three days together and it was clear that mostly his mind was gone. He was so scared and confused. Had no idea where we were. after living in the area for more than 25 years. Dad had become a child.
As a younger man he was strong, witty, charismatic, and sure footed. That man is gone. He will never return.
So, I walk for dad... and for all the others affected by this terrible, mind robbing, memory robbing killer. Please help me.
2018 UPDATE: I visited my father in Sarasota a month ago. It had been less than 2 years since I saw him in 2016. He is gone now. I went to see him twice while I was there.
Both visits I found him in the common area of the nursing home he lives, and he was mostly happy. I sat down and spent 30-45 minutes with him. He never knew who I was. I tried explaining it to him. "Dad. I am your son Todd. Judy is my mom. I am your oldest son." The only thing that ever stirred him was the mention of my mom's name. He responded "Judy was the most beautiful wife I had." I showed him a picture of his childhood home where he grew up in Mize, KY. He could hardly see it, and could only claim "it looks familiar". He had no idea what he was looking at. Twice in a 45 minute visit a little time would pass and he would look over and see me sitting there and say something like "I need more coffee. Wish they would bring me more coffee... not remembering that we had been sitting there for a period of time... as though he just saw me for the first moment again.
- He ate with his fingers. Oatmeal, applesauce, all of it.
- He used the bathroom in his pants both visits.
Dad has no dignity . The only thing I could feel ok with after the two visits was the knowledge that he has no idea he is gone.
Understand? This is the future for many of us. Please help us to help them find a cure.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
I have raised