Jun 212013
 
Raising Awareness About Dementia With Every Step

More than 3,000 days have passed since I noticed something was wrong with my mom. At first, I didn’t believe the subtle changes could be dementia-related; after all, she was only in her mid-60s and had recently retired. I thought,  “Retirement is a huge adjustment. This will pass. It has to pass.” Besides, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect other people, other families. Not mine. That was in 2004; I was 27 years old. Turns [...]

Jun 212013
 
A Day for My Grammy, Who Has Alzheimer's

My name is Ryne and I am 12 years old.  I live in a suburb of Chicago.  I heard my Aunt Joan asking my father if he wanted to join the team she was part of for Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day.  I learned what it was about and asked my mother if there was a minimum age or if she thought I could join the team.  First I thought it would be a fun [...]

Jun 212013
 
Dancing to Keep the Memories of My Father Alive

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2006. I remember looking into my father’s eyes and realizing he doesn’t know who I am. I never really understood heart break until that day. Two years later, on April 4, 2008, my father passed away, 13 days before his 75th birthday. Now I hold onto the memories that I have of my Father – and I celebrate what he loved – MUSIC! Throughout his journey with [...]

Jun 212013
 
Honoring Henry After The Longest Goodbye

My daughter and I experienced the longest goodbye during my husband’s decade-long struggle with Alzheimer’s dementia. Henry died in March of this year. Henry taught me to play bridge more than 30 years ago when we were courting. My daughter, as a little girl, learned how to play the game while sitting on his knee.  Playing bridge became a tradition with my family as we played weekly with friends, and whenever we went to California to [...]

Jun 212013
 
Fighting to Remember for My Dad With Early-Onset Alzheimer's

Today is all about motion.  There has already been hiking – and there will be boating, golfing and biking.  Together with my sister and two wonderful friends, I am participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day, which involves 16-hours of activity to honor those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. My father was diagnosed with early-onset (also called younger-onset) Alzheimer’s late last year. There is a hereditary mutated gene that runs in our family that has [...]

Jun 212013
 
For Alzheimer's. For Theatre. For my Mom.

I’m an actor from San Francisco who came home for Christmas and stayed.  My Mom is in Stage 4 of Alzheimer’s. My Dad is in denial, but he is getting better. I went to the Alzheimer’s Association and they gave me lots of support, ideas and the skills to move ahead.  They also asked me to do The Longest Day, a 16-hour event to raise funds for Alzheimer’s support, care and research. I chose theatre.  What [...]

Jun 202013
 
Climbing to Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Summit to Stop Alzheimer’s

The porters pack my tent and soon there is a line of headlamps ahead, trailing the lead guide. It will be an extraordinarily long night.  One that I am embarking upon as part of The Longest Day, an Alzheimer’s Association event that involves thousands of participants throughout the world who are passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and providing assistance to all those who have this illness. Family heartbreak inspires action As a boy, [...]

Jun 202013
 
On The Longest Day, I Will Fight to End Alzheimer's

I come from a loving and supportive family. I have always been close to my mom, Liz.  She has a degree in early childhood education, and she gave her full attention to raising my sister Kate and me.  Our home was filled with activity. She taught us songs, played games with us, and took us to swim team and play dates.  My mom has a special relationship with our friends as well. (She gave my [...]

May 102013
 
76 Miles, 16 Hours and a Commitment to End Alzheimer's

After some crazy back and forth emails tossing around ideas, it was decided. We would run for an hour at a time on a high school track, alternating shifts for the entire 16 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year. Why?  As a way of turning our passion for running into a fundraiser for The Longest Day – a sunrise-to-sunset event to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. [...]

Apr 172013
 
This Is Our Life – And Alzheimer's Isn't Keeping Us From Living It

“This Is Our Life” is the final line of a production entitled “Resurrection” that my husband Steve and I have been a part of with our church singing group for the past 17 years. During the last song, everyone in the congregation holds a candle that is lit from a single candle that stands alone on the altar. As each candle is lit, we watch the church go from dark to light. The first year we performed, a small group of us got together and pitched in—sewing costumes, rehearsing and doing whatever [...]

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