Today I am walking as part of the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day™ in honor of my mother’s brother, Armand Paluzzi, and my father’s brother, Patrick Burns. My Uncle Pat was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago. He had to leave his wife and his home to move into a full-time care facility, where the disease quickly and sadly progressed. My wonderful Uncle Pat passed away from this horrible disease shortly thereafter.
My Uncle Armand was diagnosed a few years ago but thankfully is still living at home. He recently went on a golf vacation with his wife, my Aunt Jan — which was such good news to hear. Both of my uncles were and are loving, generous, brilliant and hard working entrepreneurs whose example I treasure.
I have been a caregiver for someone with a serious illness in the past, and I know that taking care of someone with a serious illness takes essentially ALL the endurance, love and patience that you possess, along with incredible reserves of willpower and energy that you don’t even realize you have. I know how challenging it is to find hope and to “keep going” when it seems utterly impossible on some days.
I decided to participate in this endurance event because it’s a truly great way to raise awareness for those living with and caring for those with Alzheimer’s – people who go the distance and endure with love, courage and heart on a daily basis, even with no finish line in sight. I will be grateful if my participation in any way helps to shed light on this disease. Today is a great reminder to me of why we do the work that we do at the Association.
Kelly Burns has been with the IT department at the national office of the Alzheimer’s Association for more than five years. She assists in building and maintaining our website, www.alz.org. Today she is participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Longest DayTM, a sunrise-to-sunset relay supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.