Yesterday I spoke to a group of professionals and thanked them for all they are doing to support the seniors in our community, as well as their families. Without their assistance this journey would have been impossible. Acknowledgements consume two full pages of Stone Benches, as I attempted to recall the names of countless individuals who have stepped up to assist my family in some capacity throughout this process.
Many stepped forward yesterday to thank me for sharing my story, for advocating on behalf of the 5.4 million Americans living the effects of Alzheimer's disease, for going to Washington D.C. to ask for help. One sentiment of thanks took me by surprise and I have been pondering it ever since. "Thank you for daring to believe a cure could be found - I have never considered this to be possible until now."
I have been encouraged as we witness advances in the understanding of this disease. Dedicated researchers in the field believe a cure can be found with proper funding to implement their studies. Additionally, we are seeing support in Washington D.C. as funding requests are approved. We must dare to believe answers are coming soon and this terrible disease will one day cease to exist.
Depending on my audience, I speak on a variety of topics. After all, I have decades to draw from. Yesterday I briefly shared my family's journey with this disease, my personal experiences advocating in Washington D.C., updates on bills affecting the future of Alzheimer's research and care, comical Memory Care antics, as well as tips for communicating with those affected. I have posted the following before, but it bears repeating. I closed yesterday by reading this excerpt from
Stone Benches, which I will leave you with today.
It is my sincerest prayer
that readers ten years from now will find my book terribly lacking.
“Why was there no mention of the magic pill that cures this disease?”
“My loved one has been in remission for five years and their memory is restored.” Someday a cure will be found and my book will simply be a historical account
of a terrible, obsolete plague that struck millions of Americans.
These writings will one day be a distant reminder
of a very bleak account of the past.
Perhaps it will be assigned in schools to grasp a better understanding
of what this terrible disease was like.
The children of the future, having never known a single person
inflicted with such a strange and frightening disease.
A story so bizarre and unbelievable,
they will make fictional movies about this unusual phenomenon.
One day. Nothing would thrill me more.
Stone Benches: Understanding the Invisible Footprints of Dementia
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