The purpose of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease attacks a person’s brain. It slowly erases memories. The disease can be genetic, but is not in most cases. Anyone can be affected by Alzheimer’s.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s begin forgetting daily routines, and how to perform everyday activities like walking, showering, washing your hair, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, talking, sitting, and standing. They lose their ability to lead a normal life. They not only are robbed of their self sufficiency, they often must surrender their dignity. This makes me very sad.
Care partners need lots of extra help to care for their loved one who is no longer independent. Alzheimer’s has affected many women in my family including myself, my maternal grandmother, my mother, and her sister, my Aunt Anita. Anita is still living and resides at Luther Manor. She can no longer talk, feed, dress herself, or bathe by herself. This makes me very sad.
These dear ones in my life are my reason to keep going and to keep living to the best of my ability. I will fight this disease. I will continue to support research and I will never give up hope. I do this for my daughter, my granddaughter, my cousin whose mother still lives in silence with Alzheimer’s at the Lutheran Home, and for everyone who has been touched by this disease.
Please take part in a Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in your community. You can locate the event nearest you at http://www.alz.org/walk No matter where you walk, you will be on my team, and we will all be walking with this important purpose in mind – let’s put an end to Alzheimer’s disease.
Barbara Cheek Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. She and her husband Dan will be walking at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Waukesha and Milwaukee, Wisconsin this September.