I walk in honor of my wife, Sharon, who was stricken with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Her mother and a mother’s brother died from this rare form of dementia that robs active, productive people of their memory and abilities as young as their forties— or even earlier. A very bright woman, Sharon was a biology professor at William and Mary when this terrible disease struck her. She was 62 when diagnosed, but by then she had already taken early retirement because she felt she was no longer able to perform at her previous level. She can no longer care for herself and is living at Clare Bridge, a secure dementia unit at Brookdale Senior Living, Williamsburg. I visit her every day and even though I no longer see a spark of recognition in her face, I believe she’s still in there, somewhere. My heart aches because she no longer recognizes her daughters or grandsons, and is missing out on sharing their lives. My heart aches because I miss her so much.
By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m hoping to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support. I walk to help reclaim the future for millions. I walk because I have come to know and care for many brave, devoted families who are dealing with a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I walk because Alzheimer’s is a cruel, fatal disease for which there is neither a cure nor even an effective treatment, and funds for research are woefully scarce.
Please join with me and Walk to End Alzheimer’s!