teresa webb wrote -In 2010 I was diagnosed with a rare and devastating form of dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD). There isn’t a cure or medications to slow the progression. This disease is very individualized, there is no telling how long I have before I’m unable to care for myself or death occurs. Most people die 10 years after diagnosis. My speech, sense of judgment, reasoning and cognitive abilities will end. Mutism will replace singing, conversation and laughter. Can you imagine how scary it’d feel to walk in your neighborhood and not know where you are? It’s happened to me! PPA is the most frustrating disease and a cruel life card to be dealt. My speech and cognition has made it not only difficult to speak, but to understand what is being said to me. Slurred speech and the misuse of even simple words often turns off the line of communication between myself and others. Feelings of happiness and acceptance are replaced with self isolation, shame and fear. Yes fear; imagine being pulled over by your local law enforcement and when asked questions, your speech is so slurred that you are given the DUI field test. Since FTD destroys your balance and you cant walk a straight line, you are presumed under the influence, sounds like something from a movie right? It happened to me. In the spring of 2014 I became involved with To Whom I May Concern®. I volunteered to be part of film, a film unlike anyone of you have seen. There were five of us participating from all over the country and even one from England. In a very short time we all were speaking, sharing our thoughts and stories and most of all we all understood each other. Through the making of this film, I found my voice and have never stopped talking. I have found my freedom to be me and to know that I can make a difference. There are many dementia non-profits in the world. Most are supportive to caregivers, research for cures and have professional people talking how to live positive and well with dementia. But there is really only one non-profit, that I know of, that educates the public, professional healthcare providers and the like with first hand knowledge about what its like to live with dementia utilizing folks like myself who have no choice but to live with it. I am running in the SoNo Half Marathon to raise funds for To Whom I May Concern®. All funds raised will go directly to To Whom I May Concern® where they will utilize 100% of the funds raised for giving more people who have some form of dementia a chance to speak up and educate the public. I am aware that my time is limited. I could sit on the couch or go after life squeezing it for all its worth. I chose the latter and in doing so I found To Whom I May Concern®, a place of acceptance, support and encouragement. While I used to shy away from telling anyone about my disease, TWIMC has given me my voice to be honest with those around me. There is no shame living with a disability. The shame comes with hiding it.