Standing up on stage and looking out on a sea of purple, at all of those strong faces, worn by their tragic circumstances — I couldn’t help but be moved by my experience emceeing the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday.
I have been to several other fundraising races, not to mention the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure in St. Louis — one of the largest walks in the nation. All of those are fantastic causes, but none have moved me like the #Walk2EndAlz.
You see, at all of those walks there is always a large group of survivors — those that we celebrate for beating the terrible disease they were diagnosed with. But we don’t have that at the #Walk2EndAlz — there isn’t a group, or even a single person that can represent Alzheimer’s survivors.
No one has ever survived Alzheimer’s.
So instead of celebrating a cure, instead of honoring those that have fought courageously and won, we have to simply support one another as we face an unavoidable fate. It can be a sobering experience, to look out and know that the sea of purple represents all those that we have lost and none that have survived.
I myself, was there representing my grandfather — who passed this time last year from his more than 10 year fight with Alzheimer’s and my grandmother, who was his caregiver for all those years as he slipped away from us, through the medical bills, memory loss and heartache.
— Teryn Schaefer (@TerynS_PGATOUR) November 4, 2017
It can be hard to see a father and husband, only 51-years-old, living with a disease that currently cannot be cured, slowed or prevented. It can be hard to come to grips with the fact that there are TOO MANY others out there, like you, that have seen their loved ones suffer through the same fight.
But amazingly, the #Walk2End Alzheimer’s is so much more than that. In fact it’s a positive experience, inspiring us all to come together — reassuring us that we are not alone. It’s there to help us remember (as if we’d ever forget) what we are fighting for. On top of all those underlying tragic realities is hope — an unwavering determination to beat Alzheimer’s and an unrelenting strength to never give up.
Despite the tragic realities we all face in the Alzheimer’s community, it’s so inspiring to see how wonderful, positive and uplifting everyone one is. Saturday was a day of love and I hope we can continue to spread that love throughout the ALZ community, because we WILL find a cure — that sea of purple reassured me of that.
Thank you to the Alzheimer’s Association for helping me share my grandfather’s story through their October blog post about my journey as a granddaughter watching her mentor fight the disease. Read their wonderful article –> here.
Please visit Alz.org to help us find a cure today.