"Alzheimers"

Machine gun fire, snipers and grenades all failed to kill my Father.
They wounded him, but it was Alzheimer’s that killed him.

Today 75% of North Americans are now somehow affected by this disease. Either by having it, knowing some family dealing with it or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. I know firsthand the struggles you all go through if you have a family member suffering with Alzheimer’s. Not only are their lives ruined, your lives are severely changed and altered at the same time. For anyone out there reading this who says “I don’t know anyone with Alzheimer’s” I say to you “Don’t worry, you will” Of the 82 million young people either going to school or playing organized sports in North America. This will be the scourge of your generation. This will be the disease that will rob you of your golden years with your children and grandchildren. All that you grew up loving and all those who love you will be lost in a fog and a haze of mass confusion. Experts predict that in 30 years from now there will be only two types of people in the world. Those with Alzheimer’s and those caring for someone with it.

While some progress has been made, there is still a very long road to travel in an effort to defeat this enemy.

As you take your Footsteps every day. Researchers and scientists work tirelessly around the clock in an effort to develop a cure so that your generation will be rid of this destroyer of human dignity. Your future state of mind and that of your children and grandchildren depend on these people to find a cure for you and all of human kind. They will find a cure. But they need our help. We are all in this fight together now. We are on the same team with a common goal to WIN this fight on Alzheimer’s.

Originally after my Father died I thought of writing of my experience of caring with someone with Alzheimer’s. To write a book however takes years in most cases. Then I came across a book titled “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova which also became an Academy Award winning movie. It’s a wonderful read that you just can’t put down. It guides us through one person’s struggle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s and the trials and tribulations of an entire family as they deal with this diagnosis. After reading “Still Alice” I came across a book by one man living in Cape Cod by the name of Greg O’Brian who was diagnosed with EOA and he takes you on a riveting journey on a daily basis of what it is like to live with Alzheimer’s. A courageous book no doubt. A man that lays it all out there for all the world to see.

Then there is Glen Campbell who was also diagnosed with EOA and starred in a movie titled “I’ll Be Me” touring with his family as he progressed with this disease. It’s passionate and very moving not because we all grew up with his music. But to see the love and support of his family to give him one last hurrah and to expose to the rest of us what we may face in the future. This was my Father to a tee. One minute he is here with us and the next he is in outer space. All of these books and movies gives us a glimpse of what lies ahead for us all if we simply sit idle and watch this disease ruin everyone’s lives.

For those of you who are presently in College or University you will be in your mid 50’s in 2050. In 50 years from then. It will be your very own children in the same position. While it does seem like a long time away. It is not. In order to protect your quality of life and that of your children and grandchildren we all have to come together as one right now. We simply can’t sit back and say “Oh, in 50 years they will have a cure” no more than we can sit back and say “Oh, my retirement will be fine in 50 years” You have to start now to succeed in the end. If you don’t start saving now, who will take care of you in your golden years? If we don’t start finding a cure for Alzheimer’s now. We will all suffer in the end.

I could go on and on and bore you with terms and language related to Alzheimer’s such as. Cognitive Function, Plaques, Brain tangles, Dying Neurons, Synapse and Dendrites. I will instead however speak to something we all can relate to. Like when your Father who you have known and loved every day of your life for the past fifty years. Someone so strong and powerful who you have never seen shed a tear. Stand before you in a nursing home crying as he urinates down his pant leg asking “Why is this happening to me”? Or he can’t figure out how to do up his zipper. Or why the remote for the TV is in the freezer and the milk is in the cupboard and the sugar is in the fridge. When he gets up in the morning in one town and you get a call that he is wandering around in another 50 miles away. Or the worst. When you walk in and he asks. “WHO ARE YOU?”

This could be your very own Grandfather or Grandmother. You Mother or Father. Or YOU.

At this time I would like to ask you to join our club and support our team of Doctors and Scientists to rid the world of this horrible disease. If not for yourself, do it for your children and grandchildren. Eventually one way or the other. You will become a member.