Jun 202012

Hello! My name is Darlene Berg. I’m a personal trainer from Southern California, so health and fitness are extremely important to me, just as they were to my Bachan (Japanese for Grandma). Today, June 20, I am doing 16 hours of continuous activity to fight Alzheimer’s.

This cause is one of the closest things to my heart because my Bachan passed away on January 25, 2012, from Alzheimer’s disease. It was an incredibly challenging and devastating disease to watch my Bachan experience. She had no idea what dementia was or that she was a victim of it, rather she continuously questioned her state of mind. This is something that no one should ever have to do, but those with this disease experience it multiple times a day.

I, as well as my other family members, remained by her side throughout her entire journey with the many stages of this disease. I could never dream of not being with her, especially during those years.

She continues to be my daily inspiration, my role model for being a strong woman, and my example of true unconditional love. She was a woman of great dignity, who didn’t like to be told what to do and had a never-give-up attitude, even to her last evening. On January 24, she opened her eyes at 9:00 p.m. and kept them gazed ahead until past midnight. I knew later that she asked her God to send someone to give her family comfort enough to leave her side for a few hours so that she could finally let go. At 4:48 a.m. on January 25, 2012, with only her nurse by her side, she took her last breath. She loved her family so dearly, and never wanted to subject us to what this disease had caused and definitely did not want to let go in our presence. This is exactly how my Bachan wanted to go, on her terms.

I carry her picture with me and every time I get into my car I look at her beautiful, smiling face. I miss her more than I have ever experienced before. I fight for a cure because she fought for her life.

Everything that I watched her experience during her time with Alzheimer’s leaves me with two thoughts. First, those with dementia love us and still need love. And second, the strength you must have to live with this disease is unlike any we can fathom.

My other grandmother has dementia, possibly of the Alzheimer’s type, as well as Parkinson’s. She is an amazingly loving woman with such a positive mind set and gentle personality. She said to me recently, “It’s okay to forget things from the past because you will remember them when you need to.” I have been so fortunate in my life to be so close to my wonderful grandparents and create such loving relationships with them.

And they are why I am participating in The Longest Day. I feel it’s the least I can do to bring awareness to the hours, days, months, and years of loss, agony, confusion, and pain my Grandmothers have or will experience. Those with Alzheimer’s endure so many challenges. In a small way, being part of this event, keeps my Bachan’s fight going. I am inspired fully by the unconditional love I have for both my Grandmas.

I began The Longest Day Challenge on a hike in Sierra Madre, Calif., with my mom and brother. We hiked to a place that is special to my family and Bachan. Next, I will bike to the 24 Hour Fitness in Glendora, where I will meet several clients/friends for a Yoga class. Then, I will bike ride to the 24 Hour Fitness in Upland, where a personal trainer will be doing a group workout. Finally, I will ride to the 24 Hour Fitness in Ontario, where I will participate in three Group X classes and a boot camp put on by a trainer. From there, I will ride to a park in the complex that I live in. This is where I sat after a long run, three days after my Bachan passed.

On that evening, filled with emotion, I looked up, and there was a cross, so clear with the beautiful mountains in the background — a sign my Bachan is now my angel. Tonight, this is where I will release my lantern and reflect on the women who have been influential in who I am, and who inspire me to have strength and unconditional love.

Alzheimer’s is a top 10 disease that has no way to treat or cure it. I’ve experienced the mind robbing, hallucinating, aggressive behavior that this devastating disease inflicts on a loved one, so my passion runs deeply for support of the Alzheimer’s Association. There needs to be as many resources as possible to better the quality of life of those affected.

If you are passionate about something, then you will find a way to accomplish it, overcome it, focus on it, or make it happen. I have passion for finding treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s. The Longest Day Challenge has allowed me to find a way to take action for this cause that I believe in. This is about finding a passion bigger than ourselves and taking action.

Darlene Berg is a personal trainer in Southern California. Today, she is participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day™, to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer’s. Click here to support Darlene during this 16-hour event.

  19 Responses to “16 Hours to Honor My Bachan”

  1. well done Darlene,I work with dementia sufferers,but for the grace of God go I

    • Thanks Poppy. Without you this experience would be uabraenble. Without you my heart would be much smaller. well, in all actuality without you my heart wouldn’t exist. thank you for being an amazing father/poppy!

  2. __I have recently published my very own Cookbook and part of the proceeds are going to my "Myrtle's Turltes Walk to End Alzheimer's Team." My 95 year old mother has dementia and I've honored her with many of her favorite recipes and favorite scripture throughout the book.

  3. The concepts you have about a good healthy body is really interesting and I really liked the way you honored your Bachan. The affection you have to your mother is really lovable. Keep posting more in future and best wishes!

  4. Alzheimers is a horrible disease, more so for the family than the sufferer.

  5. Hello, yup this article is really fastidious and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.

  6. Thank you for bringing Alzheimer’s to the Young and the Restless. As a person who has watched this soap opera from the very beginning (still do to this day), and as a wife who lost her husband of 38 years to Younger on-set Alzheimer’s (he was diagnosed at age 52 and passed away at the age of 57 I know all to well how important it is to find a cure for this heartbreaking disease. It is such a sad thing to see your loved one slip away like that. My husband was a strong and healthy man in every other way….and that made it so hard for people to understand, so mostly they just stayed away. I hope you’re able to show all the sides of this disease. Not only for the person suffering from it but also those family members who are suffering from having to watch it happen without being able to stop it… or even slow it down. There are many phases of Alzheimer’s and many, many emotions that we caregivers go thru. Good luck and thank you again for helping spread awareness. Sincerely, J. Moss

  7. I think it is a wonderful thing to have Alzheimer’s put in the storyline of Y&R! I lost my father, a internationally known cartoonist, in January to that relentlously cruel disease. Almost everyone has a loved one who has it, or that they have lost that had it. This will help those who don’t know how to respond to someone.
    I started watching Y&R at the onset.
    God Bless you for writing important issues into your storylines!

  8. In December I lost my beloved husband to what we thought was Akz Disease. We chose Brain Organ donation to learn, six months later, that he actually had Lewy Body Dementia. Just raising awareness that it’s not always what was diagnosed. Alzheimer’s/Dementia is devastating. Thank you for bringing awareness to the public

  9. why be applauded it’s no different than cancer it’s out there and it needs to be addressed as somebody that works in a nursing home on an alzheimer’s unit I am glad it’s finally being addressed make awareness that this disease is just as serious as cancer AIDS and diabetes I am proud of you Young and the Restless I’ve grown up my whole entire life watching you and for once it’s not about sex it’s about all timers

  10. I am an old acquaintance of Cindy’s. My husband and I caught only a portion of the channel 8 story…we were watching taped episodes of the Good Dr., and only saw a few moments of the story. I told Kurt, that’s Cindy…and, I was able to find this on; of course, google. Please tell Cindy Kurt and Charlotte Niedermayer say hello…I am so sorry your family is going through this…my dad has had dementia for a few years…I do have an understanding of what you are going through.

  11. My father was diagnosed 20 years ago. This terrible disease needs the same attention as cancer. Thank you.

  12. Thank you for the episodes on Alzheimer and the struggle that is associated with this devastating disease. The more awareness raised, the more knowledgeable families will be.
    I also would like to thank you for the sexual trafficking segment which is such a sad happening all over the world. I live in Georgia and have been involved in efforts to raise awareness. Sadly here I Atlanta statistics show that we could be 4th or 5th in the nation for sexual trafficking especially of young girls. Please continue to make these kinds of issues known about in your story lines.

  13. So hard to watch your videos through pools of tears. I lost my dad 11 months ago to Parkinson’s Dementia. It’s a sad journey none of us want to take. My dad was a ‘mans man’ and to watch his decline ripped away at me. My mom is angry and depressed still. I wish I could take away her anguish. Thank you for your story. Your an amazing son!!! You mom is blessed to have you

  14. My thoughts & prayers are with Rich, his immediate & extended family. Keep fighting the fight! My mother passed away in 2014 from Alzheimers.P.J.

  15. Are you examining the role of iron supplementation in unceasing incidence of Alzheimer’s in women?
    There is current trial on chelating iron to reduce iron in brain. Women take iron supplements their whole life vs men, and women get more Alzheimer’s, of course doesn’t prove causality but would be important to look at past databases, such as NHANES and other longitudinal data that track anemia and ferritin levels, Alzheimer’s, and gender. Please let me know thoughts, so I can feel the comment was captured? Thank you!

  16. Was Richie in the military? I ask because my husband was stationed in Japan for 7 years. He left the military after 20 years of service in 1995 and in 2004 at age 52 he survived major surgery for colon cancer. He endured 5 months of chemo just in case. In 2009 he started having driving issues. In 2012 he stopped driving for good after a major accident at 70 mph where he went off the road. He had a CAT scan and diagnosis of MCI. In 2014 he was diagnosed early stage dementia and he doesn’t drive but he still has mostly executive functioning issues. His Ability to speak and write is as good as always. His short term memory loss is disrupting his ability to most perform tasks like cooking. When I read about your brother it sounded so much like my David.

  17. As being a caregiver for 15 years. I appreciate you doing this blogs and videos. You sharing how hard it is for an everyday life of a person living with Alzheimer’s. I also worked in memory care for a couple years you’re very right. It’s not easy! Being redirected over and over again. You taking care of your mother doing it has to be harder then my job any day. My heart goes out to you and your family throughout your beautiful journey. I do thank you for allowing us into your life and sharing with the world. #eachoneteachone

  18. I applaud you for bringing this much needed discussion to the tables. I write a book for a friend in 2014, not knowing that my husband would suffer the same diagnosis. Enlightening and educating through “Mashed Potatoes in My Salad: An Alzheimer’s Caregiver Memoir,” has been an interesting journey as I begin my own personal journey.

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