A few days ago after I posted about Alzheimers, I received the following email. It touched me so, that I asked Denise if she would be willing to have her story posted on my blog. Denise has no web site, and this story has been published nowhere else.
From: Thomas, Denise
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 4:48 PM
To: Shirley Buxton
Subject: FW: Memory Walk
After your blog post today, I wanted to share the e-mail below with you- not to solicit funds, but just to share the story of my dad’s last birthday before he died from Alzheimers, and just a little bit about the man he was.
Subject: Memory Walk
81 years ago today, my dad, Teddy, was born. Today we would be celebrating his birthday, but last September, just a month after his 80th birthday, my dad finally died from Alzheimer’s disease. I say “finally died” because, in reality, he had been dying, a little at a time, for many years.
One year ago, the family gathered in dad’s room to sing happy birthday to him because he had been bedridden for months. The grandkids carried in cupcakes, each with a candle and dad smiled – a rare thing in his last year. My mom made dinner for the family, but dad’s birthday dinner was a can of Ensure fed through a permanent feeding tube inserted directly into his stomach. Alzheimer’s had robbed him of even basic skills, like how to swallow food.
I wish you could have met my dad before this disease began to take him. He was an amazing man and, even though he was never employed by a school, he was a natural teacher; kind, wise and patient. He was the kind of person that everyone trusted, and he spoke up against wrong even
when it would have been “easier” to keep quiet. He touched the lives of many before Alzheimer’s robbed him of his.
My dad taught all of his children to always do the right thing; to speak up against injustice; to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves; to do everything in our power to make things right.
That is why on October 7, for the 4th consecutive year, “Teddy’s Troop” will join thousands of others in Memory Walk, a 5k event to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Speaking from personal experience, some of which I’ve shared with you today, Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, not only for the person diagnosed, but the entire family. The funds raised through Memory Walk are used to provide services to families affected by Alzheimer’s and to research the causes of this horrible disease and develop treatments. I am asking, on behalf all of these families, for your support of our fundraising efforts. Online donations can be made on the secure website of Teddy’s Troop.
Edit: I see that this link does not work. I will contact Denise and try to work this out.
Or, you may write a check payable to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Your support is appreciated.
I don’t know who Denise is, but I do believe she loved her father, and I value this tribute to him.