Today is the day I walk at the 2015 Pensacola Walk to END ALZHEIMER’S. You could say it’s the Super Bowl for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Over the past few Saturday’s and continuing into November, throughout the United States, Alzheimer’s supporters have figuratively and literally joined hand-in-hand with one another as well as with individuals with Alzheimer’s.
If you’ve noticed, the faces and ages of people with Alzheimer’s get younger and younger. That’s because Alzheimer’s is no longer a disease of the elderly. It is now affecting individuals under the age of 65, individuals in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, individuals like me. Early-Onset Alzheimer’s is not as well known as regular Alzheimer’s, so I walk.
I watched my grandfather, my wife’s grandmother as well as my mother all live productive and wonderful lives. Instead of going into their golden years enjoying their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I watched their memories be taken away by this cruel and horrible disease. It has no cure so, I walk.
I know what my future looks like. I wish I didn’t, however, I don’t dwell on that. Instead, I live in the moment because the moment is all I have. I still have my long-term memories but my short-term, let’s just say I don’t remember too much from yesterday. Thankfully I have 3 people in my life whom I love more than anything in this world who lovingly, and without a moment of hesitation, help me each and every day navigate my way through the day. So, they walk with me.
Cancer, Heart Disease, HIV / AIDS, as well as other diseases have had success in finding prevention and cures, so I know there’s hope. I know first hand about heart disease having survived 3 heart attacks myself so I know there is hope for Alzheimer’s. The difference between Alzheimer’s and other diseases is funding. Where other diseases receive BILLIONS from the National Institute of Health for research, Alzheimer’s is still in the MILLION dollar category. Through these walks we not only raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, we also raise funds. So, we walk.
Without hesitation, I have vowed to my family and to my loved ones who are no longer with us, that I will fight the fight; that I will advocate as much and as often as possible; to make sure EVERYONE I come into contact with will know, not only about Alzheimer’s but Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. So, I walk.
On behalf of my family, myself and all those who have Alzheimer’s who are not able to speak for themselves, I thank each and everyone you for supporting us.
I may have Alzheimer’s but it doesn’t have me . . . So I will continue to walk!