The Walk For Alzheimer’s brings together thousands of community members who all have common goals: to end Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and to support families currently affected. Many of those who participate know someone who lives or has lived with the disease, and walking and fundraising is a great way to support and honour them. This week, we found out why Alex Walks For Alzheimer’s.
In 1993, a lot changed in my family in a very short time. I was born, my Grandmother Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and both she and my Grandfather moved in with my parents into their brand new home. As you can imagine, I grew up in a very busy household. More significantly however, I grew up watching my Grandmother’s progression with Alzheimer’s. Photos from my early childhood show that my Grandma was very active in raising me, but naturally I have very few memories from when I was a newborn. What I mostly remember is knowing her in the later phases of her disease.
I really wish I had the chance to know my Grandmother in the way the rest of my family does. My Mother and Grandfather always share such bright memories of her baking wonderful Czech foods and spending time outside as a family. Whenever my Mom makes a meal reminiscent of her childhood, she always lets me know she learned it from Grandma first. Grandpa never passes up an opportunity to tell me how much he loved her and that she was such a fun and charismatic woman.
Even though her Alzheimer’s took a hard toll on my family, I am often reminded of how lucky I am to have known my Grandma at all. She was a wonderful, loving woman who brought so much light into the life of my family. On May 27, I will walk for Alzheimer’s to remember my Grandma and to support a future where all families can have the light of their loved ones shining on their lives for as long as possible.