Carly is a high school senior who is committed to the Alzheimer’s cause because of her experience with her Grandpa. She raised over $2,000 for Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sacramento last year and has such a compelling story, I had to share it with all of you. I hope you’re as inspired as I am by Carly!
I am a firm believer that people are just a compilation of their experiences. Who you interact with and the memories you have form your character as surely as a thrower molds clay. In accordance with this belief, my childhood is composed of memories that have made me who I am, whether they be good or bad. Some of these events in my life have left such a huge impact on me that I can recall even the smallest details of that moment.
One such time was December 26, 2007. Only the day after Christmas and my family was hosting a larger party of people than we ever do over the holidays. The reason behind this addition to just the usual suspects was because my grandfather, Alfred Dejesus, or most commonly known to me as Papa, was dying of dementia. I remember that day with better clarity than any given day in the last week. It is a day forever imprinted on my memory.
Carly and Papa
My Papa had been bedridden for days by that point, and unresponsive for the past two. He laid in my grandparent’s bed, my mom and Nana cleaning him and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. They kept a constant vigil around his bed for the day. As for myself, I had secluded myself in the back room for the day, avoiding the constant stream of crying family and the reality of what was happening. I was just thirteen, and not prepared to lose a family member as important to me as him. Eventually I realized that I too should say my last goodbye. We each got a few moments alone with him, so I was able to talk with some privacy. Continue reading “Grandpa inspires teen to Walk” »
Two weekends ago when I was at Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redding, I had the privilege of hearing Rhonda recite a poem written by her son about her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease. I found it inspiring and wanted to share with all of you!
My husband Fernando Rodriguez was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2005 at the age of 41. He passed away on December 23, 2011. The journey that we traveled with my husband during those six years was a learning experience. Our grandchildren learned to have an understanding of people who have a disability. Each was involved with the care of my husband until his death; the youngest being just two when his Papa passed and the oldest 16. Throughout this journey, my husband never lost his sense of humor even when it got so rough. He was an amazing man who loved to the fullest. He did not want us to be sad when he was taken, but to continue to loving and living life to the fullest. This is a poem written by my son Richard Velador that I read during Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redding:
Stole Away Continue reading “Stole Away: A poingnant poem by a son for his Dad” »
In less than a month, thousands of people will gather in San Francisco for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, so I’m in a frame of mind that is slightly off topic.
Sherrie, Alzheimer’s Advocate, Caregiver, and Walk to End Alzheimer’s participant
Therefore, this entry is not about something I just read regarding the latest drug that has promise or the one that failed. It’s not about hounding you to write another letter or make one more phone call to insist that lawmakers fund more research or vote for legislation that makes living with Alzheimer’s more bearable. Instead, this is about my mother.
It could be that because the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is just around the corner, my dreams of my mom – who died in 2000 and for whom I had cared for many long years – are more present. Continue reading “With Walk around the corner, dreams about Mom start to change” »
I’ve shared my personal Alzheimer’s story a hundred times. On my walk webpage, on my facebook fundraising posts, in my personal emails to friends asking for donations and in person with people I meet everyday. I walk in memory of my mom, who died from Alzheimer’s 4 years ago.
But this week, I gained a new perspective on why my family walks and discovered another way for our family to share our story.
Sail + Give + Live
My sister Shannon is about to take a big leap in life – going from a comfortable home in Oakland to living on a 40-foot sailboat with her husband and two kids. We were all shocked to hear about this drastic move and their plans to pack up and sail around the world in two years. But Shannon started a blog, and after reading her story, I understand the decision and support it 100%. I know it won’t all be easy, but it will be an amazing experience.
My change of heart after reading Shannon’s blog reminded me of how important it is for us who have had experience with this disease to tell our story. I read the story from her perspective as a woman who lost her mom to Alzheimer’s and suddenly the big decision all makes sense.
Walkers can learn a lot from this principle. Did you know that people who add their story and a photo or video to their personal Walk fundraising pages raise more money than those who don’t? That is a tangible example of how stories will help us move this cause forward and I hope all of you share yours often. Continue reading “Why leave a 1400 square-foot house for a 40-foot sailboat? Read the story, and you’ll understand” »
A message from my dad Rick, who finds inspiration from all of the research coming out of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference:
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2012 (AAIC), the world’s leading forum on dementia research, just came to a close. I had the pleasure of attending this impressive conference a few years ago when it was held in Chicago. Why would someone like me, not at all associated with the world of medical research, want to attend such a conference or even care about the outcomes?
Suzie and the girls
Simple: I have two lovely, talented and extremely capable daughters who can never go for a month without worrying or being concerned about whether one of them will contract this disease.
They have just reached or will soon reach the age of 40 and that is not too far from the age of their mother when we first started to notice symptoms of her decline into the dark and dismal world that is Alzheimer’s. My wife Suzie was only 51 years old when we first received her diagnosis; she died from the disease 10 years later at age 61. She attended her oldest daughter’s wedding, but didn’t really seem to understand what was happening. She never saw her grandchildren. I was reminded by my daughter recently at a family gathering that the possibility of Alzheimer’s in her life is always present in her thoughts. She said to me “When I reach 50, you will be 75 and we should throw a really big party for both of us… if I don’t have Alzheimer’s!” How sad and how frightening is that? Continue reading “Research news drives dad to Walk to End Alzheimer’s” »