June 12, 2016
My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 65. Like many, she was diagnosed young and her disease progressed very quickly--so quickly that by the time we wrapped our brains around what was happening she had already slipped away into the dark recesses of the disease.
Today, she is living in a nursing home--comfortable and stable but without any recognition of her loved ones or knowledge of her surroundings. There is nothing we can do to stop the progression or bring her back to us. It's an incredibly powerless feeling and I am constantly looking for ways I can find some sense of control, strength, hope.
For me, that has been running. Running helps calm me when I'm missing her and through exercise, provides one way I can possibly help prevent the disease from affecting me. Ironically, as the disease was just starting to take hold my mom decided she was going to run her first 5K race with my family. My mom was not a runner, in fact, that was probably the first time I ever saw her run! I will never forget how she took off and left us behind and the look on her face when she crossed the finish line.
From the moment she was diagnosed, my family was very blessed to have the resources to help manage my mom's disease, however even with access to the best healthcare services, support groups, and caregiver aid programs, it was still the most devastating experience of our lives. I literally cannot imagine the added burden on families who do not have access to the same resources and support.
That's why on Sunday, October 23 I will run in the Atlantic City Marathon in honor of my mom and to raise funds for CaringKind, New York City's leading expert on Alzheimer's and dementia caregiving.
The mission of CaringKind is to create, deliver, and promote comprehensive and compassionate care and support services for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research.
They achieve their mission by providing programs and services for individuals with dementia, their family and professional caregivers; increasing public awareness; collaborating with research centers; and informing public policy through advocacy.
Please support me in my toughest challenge yet, as I run in honor of my mom filled with hope to prevent future generations from facing this terrible disease.