I attended the “A Reason to Hope Community Breakfast” this morning. I was asked to sit at her table by Andrea Gillespie of Emeritus at Alpine Court Memory Care Community.
I accepted the invitation, admittedly somewhat half-heartedly, being not particularly interested in Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia. I thought I was simply doing Andrea a favor and I found myself looking at my watch. Until I realized how pervasive Alzheimer’s is, and how it has touched my life already. And how it is likely, statistically, to touch my life again–as well as the lives of most other Americans.
You see, I found out that the disease and its insidious relatives will strike another man or woman in the USA every 68 seconds. That strike will dramatically change the lives of every person who knows the new victim–for many years.
In listening to testimony from relatives of Alzheimer’s sufferers I remembered, then, the heartache Debi and I encountered watching Debi’s aunt, Yvonne Havilland, slide from being a dynamic, loving and engaged woman to someone who did not remember her brother’s name. Our memories match those of countless other Americans who have seen the same.
Alzheimers is not something we can watch from our comfy seats. It is something we will encounter, perhaps even personally.
Much research has been done to reduce deaths from heart disease, aids and other widespread killers. Alzheimer researchers are confident that they will conquer it. Given the right support, and maybe in time to save someone I love and cherish.
I will be walking on October 13 in the Cascade Coast Walk to End Alzheimer’s, at Alton Baker Park in Eugene starting at 2 pm. I will strive to do what i can to focus research and attention on this heartbreaking killer.
For more about Alzheimer’s go here.