My husband, Dan and I attended the Mardi Gras Gala on March 4th at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was an elegant night on the town for sure. But our real hope and purpose in attending was to raise funds for programs and research, which will get us closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I was the keynote speaker at last year’s Gala. It was my turn to share my personal story about how Alzheimer’s disease has impacted myself and my family. My plea for funding reached the people in the crowd. The applause – I will never forget. And the funds kept coming in, long after the event had ended.
I looked forward to hearing this year’s keynote speaker, Molly Megal, an eleven year old girl who lost her 52 year old father to the disease. And I wasn’t disappointed. Molly did a fabulous job sharing her story and the applause was like thunder. And the funds poured in. Funds raised to support programs for caregivers and research.
We need more examples of people who will share their stories and raise money for the cause. I have a close friend who sets a good example. Her father passed away with Alzheimer’s disease. She donates funds once a month to the cause in memory of her beloved father who lived and died with Alzheimer’s.
I’m looking forward to attending Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Madison on March 11. There we will meet with government officials to share our stories, and present our case for increased funds, and heightened awareness.
I am one who counts my blessings each day. I am blessed to have an excellent Doctor, a wonderful support group at the Alzheimer’s Association, and my patient and loving husband, family and friends. I am also blessed that you allow me to share my story with you through this blog.
“The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.”― Vera Nazarian
Barbara Cheek Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s.