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Memory Walk 2010 – Year Four

In 13 days (September 11th, 2010), I will be participating in the Alzheimer Associations’s Memory Walk in San Francisco, California. This will be my fourth Memory Walk, but first in San Francisco. I originally started participating in the yearly Memory Walk as a way to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and one of the worst in my eyes. It certainly affects the one infected in negative ways, but it also impacts all of the loved ones around them. My grandmother was diagnosed with this disease while I was in my late middle school, early high school years. Since I was unable to drive during that time, I would go to my mother’s school after the day ended at mine. From there we often would drive to the nursing home where she was later placed in order to check on her. These visits didn’t have the effect on me then that they have on me now. Maybe I was too young to really let it all sink in, but after her death it hit me the hardest. I soon realized that the woman who I had seen in the last years of her life was no where near the woman that I had known for the first many of mine.

Grandmother and Me
She’d probably kill me for posting this picture, but I love it.

Sure during those bad times, my family tried to find a way to laugh and we did, but that was only as a way to get through those times, such as when my mother had to retell the death of her father to someone who was expected to remember it. Alzheimer’s is a disease that many fail to understand until they have someone close to them be affected by it. The memory is one of the most powerful things that we have. To have it all disappear almost makes you think that life may not be worth it. In everything that you do and with every memory you make, you assure yourself that you will remember this for years to come. What if you don’t? What if you forget those very special memories that make you you?

This is the real reason I do the Memory Walk. This is why raising money and awareness is so important to me. My biggest fear is that I will end up like my grandmother and many others. That I will forget all of my friends, family and loved ones. That I will essentially let all of these important people down and not be able to look them in the eyes later in life and remember who they are or anything about the times that we had shared. This is not how I want my life or anyone else’s to end.

Now I’d love to end this post saying that’s it but I can’t. With a fund raising event such as the Memory Walk, I must advertise it. I must tell as many people as possible that I have a goal that I want to reach and I have 13 days to meet it. However, I want to state something even more than that. If you have the time, find a Memory Walk near you. If you have the funds, donate to the cause. It doesn’t have to be the Memory Walk, mine, or anyone else’s. Just find a way to donate or spread the word to others who may be interested in the cause. If you want to learn more or share how you have been impacted by Alzheimer’s leave a comment or send me a note. I’ve finally found that talking about it has helped me more than those years I kept to myself.

For those interested in donating towards my participation in the Walk, please use my personal Memory Walk page. Thanks to the generous support of many, I’ve already been able to increase my intended goal from $1,000 to $2,000. Hopefully I will hit this secondary target before the Saturday of the event.

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