I am a volunteer and this year’s Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s co-chair. My mother-in-law, Fran was a woman who loved life. She swam 23 laps a day, bowled and played golf. She loved watching football and basketball. She was a phenomenal cook and an avid reader.
Now, 4 years into this disease, Fran communicates using fragmented sentences interjected with the wrong words. She can no longer read, she doesn’t know what day it is and she sees and believes things that are not there. I miss who she was and the close relationship that we had. Every day that I see her, my heart breaks and the mourning starts all over again.
Fran has Lewy Body Dementia. Dr. Lewy identified proteins in people’s brains suffering from memory loss and confusion. Hence, the name Lewy Body. Like Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body is another form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association works to help people with all types of dementia, not just Alzheimers.
Hopefully, one day there will be a way to detect early onset dementia. Then, perhaps a treatment will be available. And maybe one day, there will be a cure. It’s too late for Fran, but not for the millions of people who will be diagnosed with some form of dementia in the years to come. Don’t assume that this cannot happen to you. If you have a brain, you are at risk.
Please join at one of the walks and help us fight for an end to Alzheimer’s.
Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s Co-Chair