Jun 202012
 

Today, I am participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™ and biking 86 miles (the weather permitting and God willing) to honor my mother.

My mom, Althea Hudzinski, is the second youngest of 10 children, all of which suffered from Alzheimer’s disease (excluding one that died of Cancer). She is the sole survivor of her siblings — and what amazes me is that she was there for each and every one of them. Early on, she took her sister in to our home to take care of her. It was my first experience with Alzheimer’s and the effect it has on entire families.

Now, my mom is facing this horrible disease. It is hard to see her slipping away each day. She was always a caregiver, working tirelessly to make sure everyone had what they needed, and now she needs us.

There are 12 of us in our family —11 girls and one boy — and my mom had enough love for us all. Yes, my mother deserves a “saint” award.

The love of her life, my dad, died at the age of 54, when there were still six of us kids at home. (I was only 11.) Mom kicked it into gear and took care of us all. We didn’t have much, but I never knew that. With all that she gave of herself, I thought we were rich! I remember mom always giving to others — if she had what you needed, it was yours.

I have a letter my mom wrote to me one day after she had gotten lost going to a doctor’s appointment. In the letter she said, “Please do not give up on me.” As hard as it has been, I will not give up on her or stop fighting for a cure. With the same strength and compassion my mom showed to myself and others through the years, I want to support and honor her in her fight against this horrible disease. This is why I am participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™ .

I am very fortunate. With such a large family, we share in caring for mom. I do not know what I would do without my family; they are my support and my rock. Many members of my family have joined my team for The Longest Day, which we have named Babci’s Prodigy. Babci means Grandmother in Polish. Many of our friends and neighbors called my mom Babci, as she is a grandmother to everyone.

Our family resides on the East and West Coast, but we are working as a unified team to raise money in honor of mom. My favorite saying is “If we all give a little, we will all have enough.” Together, with others like us, we CAN make a difference.

Eighty-six miles is longer than I have ever biked before at one time, but I wanted to challenge myself to the limits, as mom has to challenge herself every day. Even though I will be biking alone, I am not alone on my journey as I know I have the support of friends and family. I know my mom will also be cheering me on. She has been a source of strength for me over the years and now I hope to be hers.

Wish me luck!

Julianne Pompeii is an Alzheimer’s caregiver for her mother, Althea Hudzinski. Today, she is participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™ , a sunrise-to-sunset relay to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer’s. Click here to follow Julianna and Team Babci’s Prodigy during this 16-hour event.

  18 Responses to “Biking 86 Miles to Honor My 86-Year-Old Mother”

  1. 45 miles into my journey….now to get some work done!
    I will ride the rest of my journey this evening. It was a quiet ride, it was nice to meditate and think of mom. She was having a very bad day yesterday, very confused and disoriented so this affirms my stand in fighting the fight.

    • You are doing a wonderful job on your bike and with your mother. Keep up the good work and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep hugging your mom and remember even if one day she can't verbaly remember your name, look into her eyes and they will tell you her heart remembers you. Sending you, your mom and your entire support team lots of love and support.

    • Good for you Juliaane!
      Your story brought tears to my eyes for a few reasons. I lost my 86 year old mother and best friend at the end of March-also a devoted mother to seven children and so loving and giving her entire life. She did not suffer from Alzheimer's but I could relate to your Alzheimer's heartache as well. I was caregiver for my husbands grandmother in our home for almost eight years until her passing. I was raising four children at the time. Oh the stories I could tell…and did tell!
      When you finish your ride, (and confidant you will) send me your address. I will send you our story,"One Family's Journey through Alzheimer's" published in 2000 by Tyndale.

      God bless you and your mom!
      Mary

    • Julie…From June 3rd through the 9th I rode 545 miles on the AIDS/LifeCycle11 Ride to End AIDS. You ride that bike! My father had dementia for 25 years before he died…it was horrible. He was one of five siblings and four of them got it. I wonder what my future portends. I am all over this event! I wish I knew about it before today. I will do this event next year. I hope we can ride together. Are you on the West coast?

  2. I am walking from my grandmother's old house to the cemetery in honor or many in my family who have had or have Alzheimer's type condtions.

    • MiMi that is such a good idea….so many memories and I am sure they will all be walking along side of you. I hope this is a nice walk full of Great Past stories and memories.

  3. Your mom and your family are blessed.

  4. You go get em girl

  5. my mom has alzheimers too and i think its great to honor our loved ones any way we can. i have been taking care of my mother since 2007. i wouldn't have it any other way. like i say "it is my way of re-paying the love she gave me as i grew up." i love her dearly and will be here with her as long as she needs me. i am fortunate to share these precious moments with her now that will become cherished memories after she is gone. love ya mom.

  6. Such a powerful thing you are doing for your Mother. My Mom had Alzheimer's disease. I will be with you in spirit as I know the struggles you face and the heavy heart you carry.

    Best of Luck!!!!

  7. What an amazing daughter you are!! Best of luck on your mission! I will be cheering you on from Goldsboro, NC!!

  8. Way to go Julie…sorry about the wipe out…but you keep going inspite of it…sort of Like Mom…
    I start my leg of the relay in less than 1 hour…it is a nice day… will text you when I start and when I finish…I have 2 legs today…glad of that LOL
    Great comments and support from all around…thank you….

  9. Good luck….lots of water and take as long as you need. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! Wish I wasn't so broke… :-(

  10. You and your Mom ROCK! I commend you on your dedication and love. Best Wishes on your ride, you can do it!

  11. Keep going Jules!!! pretend it is 86 degrees out today and not 100. Drink.Drink drink.I am with you,like when we were in high school and I would run around the track with you as you ran the mile.(almost got you disqualified) :) love,from Liverpool,NY

  12. Julie, Yeah, you did it!! I was sooo tired after work to come home to wash windows for my leg of the 16 hr. journey, but I did it with sweat and many tears. Love you!! Thommie Carlson

  13. I am so inspired by your story. I hoped to be involved with this event in 2012. Looks like it'll be 2013 and my main inspiration will be your story. I hope your ride went well and that it gave you many opportunities to consider your mother's loving sacrifices through the years.

  14. Thank you all for your support. I MADE IT. It was difficult but so rewarding when i was finished. I did reflect on many memories of my mom and as I was tired and hurting I kept thinking of the long hours my mom put in to raise all 12 of us. Alzheimer's is an awful disease that robs our loved ones of their memories. I was inspired by my sister Martha who was sharing a memory with my mom and my mom said she didn't remember….My sister replied "that's ok mom for I will remember for the both of us".
    Mom and who she was will not be forgotten as long as I am alive. I wish her life could be easier for she so deserves it. Someone asked me once what would you rather have, Cancer or Alzheimer's, If I had a choice I would say no to each, but as awful and horrible of a disease cancer is…..if I had a "choice" I would choose cancer. I want to keep my memories and know my loved ones and be able to say goodbye to my loved ones when I leave this earth.
    Alzheimer's robs people of their independence, dignity, and then their memories or their life. I can't even imagine what this is like.
    Our team was amazing and raised over $5k….
    We are gearing up for next year and hope to double this amount
    Thanks again for your support and for sharing your story.

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