This weekend I participated in my first and definitely not my last Memory Walk. It was an experience that went above and beyond my expectations and has shown me something else to give my time and talent to. Memory Walk is the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest fundraising event to raise money for research and support for individuals and their families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
I did not know much about Alzheimer’s disease before I started working with the elderly. I come from a relatively healthy family (and feel incredibly lucky for this) and my grandparents, including step ones, are all healthy for people in their 80s. I knew nothing about dementia and memory loss until I began volunteering and later working at an assisted living facility. What I have learned now is that Alzheimer’s disease robs you of everything you built your life upon. Your memories and your relationships and your body, Alzheimer’s disease takes it all. More technically, Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease, the most common form of dementia, with no known cure. It is mostly in the elderly but can also be found in the form of early onset in individuals in their 40s or 50s, and sometimes even in their 30s. It does not just affect the person with the disease; it is extremely difficult for family members and friends to come to terms with the mental and physical deterioration of their loved one.
I was honored to spend Sunday morning walking with others to show our support and fight for an end to Alzheimer’s disease. I feel lucky that I am healthy enough to give back to families and their loved ones. When I was in high school, I made a list of things I wanted to do in life and one of them was find a cause to be passionate about. This is definitely a cause I will use my passion, health and
enthusiasm to support. One of the speakers before we walked said, “We spend our whole life making memories and then this disease takes it away.” How would you feel if you forgot all the wonderful things you have filled your life with? It reminds me to be grateful for every day, every moment and fight for those who are losing that one day at a time.