Thursday, August 23, 2007

Make Memories for Those Who Can't

This is another sponsored post, but it's an easy one for me to speak positively to. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's disease almost 10 years ago. It was painful to watch her go. It was even more painful to realize she had been gone a while and we never noticed because my grandfather covered for her so well. When he died, her last link to reality went as well. She lingered on for a number of years, but she didn't recognize many of us. She had rare lucid moments, but most of the time I doubt she even knew we were there. I remember her trying to read the newspaper out of habit. I say trying because it was upside down. It was hard to go visit her, but we knew she needed the company, even if she didn't know who we were. So we went and we watched as she slowly forgot how to do everything she ever learned.

Research has come a long way in the past 15 years with respect to treating and delaying the onset of symptoms, but there is still nothing remotely like a cure. So, if my giving a plug to a worthy charitable cause raises a few extra dollars, I'm OK with that. But you don't need to give money to help. You can volunteer your time as well. You can spread the word. You can get educated. The Alzheimer's Association has a lot of good data on the science behind the disease, dispelling myths, and even information for kids and teens. I personally like this link which lists 101 activities to do with a person with Alzheimer's.

Of course, if you can donate time or money, that would be great. The Memory Walk is a nationwide event. Odds are good that one is happening in a town near you. So, if you want to get involved, sign up now. The graphic above will take you to a page where you can enter a zip code and find out when and where your local walk is. I found two near me here in SoCal. One is in San Diego on October 27th and the other is in San Marcos on October 28th. From there, it's easy to sign up, donate, or even become a team Captain. If you don't live here, just go to the web site and enter your zip. I found four walks within 30 miles of my parents' house.

So, get out there and walk, donate, or just spend time with someone with Alzheimer's. It may not be easy, but very few things worth doing are.