“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Taking a break from typical posts today to talk about something near and dear to my heart.
Alzheimer’s disease, the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
And, unfortunately, there’s no cure. There are only treatments to slow the progression of the disease.
Currently, it’s estimated there are ~5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, that figure is projected to grow to about 13.8 million. That’s almost 1 1/2 times the current population of New York City. Do I have your attention yet?
Unfortunately, I’ve experienced the effects of Alzheimer’s in my own family. My great grandmother and, now, my grandma are Alzheimer’s champions.
I was somewhat young when my Grandma Mable was diagnosed and began showing effects of the disease. At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening, just knew that things were no longer the same. I grew up visiting my great grandma any time I was at my grandparents’ house. She lived in a cute little house adjacent to my grandparents’, and I loved spending time with her. She made beautiful quilts (one is on my bed right now), always had vanilla sandwich cookies and ice cream, and I spent hours at her house cleaning her “animals”…a porcelain dog and cat. Looking back on that last part, it’s pretty hilarious. But in my little kid mind, that was my job and I was darn good at keeping the animals
dusted clean. 🙂
I miss my great grandma, but am blessed to have her quilts to remember her daily.
Now, sadly, my grandma is fighting a similar battle. I’ve mentioned my grandma on the blog before. She is a wonderful women, and has taken care of me throughout the years. She’s told me stories, helped me get ready for dance class (introducing me to the wonder that is AquaNet hairspray), and so many other things. And, as mentioned before, I love my grandparents very much and cherish the memories I have with them. Still love talking to them and visiting.
It’s sad to see my grandma struggle to remember things, as she had a great story-telling memory before, and it makes me mad at Alzheimer’s. Mad that this disease isn’t one that can be stopped, just slowed.
But, really, the beauty in all of this is that it’s brought our family closer…and stronger. And it’s also made me see what true love is. The love that my grandfather has for my grandma. The patience that he shows in caring for her, explaining things, and being a wonderful caretaker. (If you’re reading this, hi grandpa!) They’re the epitome of what a marriage should be.
In a few weeks, I’ll be walking in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s near my home town. I’m determined to raise awareness and funding for research.
Now, the reason for this rather long post….I’m asking for your help. More and more people will be diagnosed with this disease. Now is the time to research cures and treatments.
For more information, or to donate to the cause, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association website. Click to donate under “Join the Cause”.
Thank you for reading this novel of a post, and thank you if you donate to the cause.