My name is Judy Johanson and today, our team, “This Is Our Life,” is participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™! For me, the event is both personal and universal.
My amazing husband (and best friend) Steve was diagnosed last fall (on what felt like the longest day) with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, just one month shy of his 59th birthday. Just five years ago, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It has been a challenge for both of us to watch his beautiful mother decline, and yet attempt to stay strong and hopeful that our children will not ever have to witness the same decline with their father. We pray that there will soon be a day where no one ever has to receive a diagnosis of this disease which currently has no cure!
Today, I am walking 16 miles (one for each hour of daylight during the longest day of the year) as a symbolic commitment to accompanying my husband through this journey. I will be there for every step as he navigates his way through life with this disease. I respect and admire his grace and dignity throughout this journey with Alzheimer’s thus far.
Our team will be based out of our home (our “Command Center” as we are calling it). Our family, friends and community have rallied with us, and will run, walk, bike, spin, swim and dance to help us keep movement going for 16 hours.
We have been overwhelmed by the financial generosity shown for this cause (our cause). In addition to our team’s activities, a local group of young mothers have organized babysitters at a park so they can all walk and make contributions to our team!
We will end the evening here at “Command Center” with food, dancing and fun! We will have all the donors and participants names hanging on the wall (the “Wall of Fame”) as a visual reminder of how many people have come together to support this effort!
Today, our team and our community will rally around us — both physically and emotionally — and confirm to Steve and I that we are NOT alone. We are all in it until Alzheimer’s is nothing but a memory!
Sending good thoughts to all the teams who are participating and prayers to all whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease!
Judy Johanson is care partner for her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s last fall. 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 Judy and her team, “This Is Our Life,” during this 16-hour event.