Today is my Mom’s 63rd birthday. Later on, some of my family will be headed over to my parents’ house for cake. But my Mom won’t know why they’re there, or even really who they are, and that’s because my Mom has Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
Many of you already know my story. You know I moved back in with my folks five years ago to become my Mom’s primary caregiver. You also know I made the hardest decision of my life last year when I chose to move on, and give up that duty to my father. I think about my parents every day and still actively support my father in every decision he makes as we navigate the later stages of this horrible disease.
Right now, Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, and currently affects over 5 million Americans. Every 66 seconds, someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s disease. The estimate this year for the cost of care for Alzheimer’s and other dementia disease patients is $236 billion. In case you can’t fathom a number like that, it looks like this: $236,000,000,000. As time goes on and the Baby Boomer generation ages, that number, and all of the other statistics surrounding Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases, will skyrocket.
So today, on my Mom’s birthday, I’m asking for help. Please help my mother and all of patients and families battling this cruel disease. Every year in the fall, the Alzheimer’s Association hosts walk-a-thons all over the country to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, patient and caregiver support, and lobbying right here in our nation’s capitol for federal funding to better treat and hopefully one day cure Alzheimer’s Disease. This year my friend Lauren in New Hampshire, my cousin Kathy in Texas, and my cousin Maria and Uncle Billy in NY are all walking in honor of my wonderful mother. My Dad & I are touched by the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family.
If you can and are inclined to donate, you can do so here. If not, please consider sharing this post. Maybe you will inspire someone you know to walk in their area, maybe on behalf of someone they know affected by this disease.
Thanks to all of the wonderful people I have met over the past two years since I started writing as The Lady J. You have seen me through some very hard times, and I am a very lucky woman to have this community in my life.
Happy birthday, Mom.