Guest Blogger Terry Cummings shares about her #walk2EndAlz experience
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Remembering for Dad
The End of Alzheimer’s Disease (and Other Dementias) Starts With Me
Yesterday I joined the Fort Bend Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This was my first actual walk. Last year I participated—raised funds, built stamina, went to the site—but the walk itself got rained out. That’s not exactly accurate. Stormed out. With a tornado warning, no less. This year the day was beautiful. Hot, but beautiful.
The walks are 5K, just over three miles. I hadn’t walked that far before, but I decided to see how much I could do. The organizers stress that you can walk as much or as little as you can. Some people join a team and raise money but don’t walk any of it because they cannot. Some volunteer at a booth instead. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is part of the fight.
The walks are kid and dog friendly, so I decided to bring Chase. I didn’t want to try to handle both Wonder Twins (him and his sister) with the crowd. Chase was ready. He’s ready for anything. Typical Brittany. He started by greeting two elementary-aged girls getting out of the car next to us. (They found us as we started walking. Their mom said they had been hoping to see Chase again.) We greeted more people at the stadium. He actually talks to people who talk to him. Sometimes he even sings. He was a hit, especially with the teenage volunteers. The crowd, estimated at 1,000+ walkers along with volunteers, committee members and staff, did not faze him. When the entire crowd stopped to listen to a soloist sing the national anthem, I told him to sit. He did for a split second, and then stood next to me again. (Take that NFL players and all you other yahoos!) His only complaint was that the opening ceremony took too long. We were burning daylight.
We merged into the crowd, and he was all business. I had wondered how he would handle walking among all the people. What people? We’re walking! Gotta end Alzheimer’s! I was surprised to see volunteers cheering us on along the route. Cheerleaders from a local middle school joined the walk and cheered about walking and wiping out Alzheimer’s the whole way. I wish I had half their energy.
A few others had brought dogs too. A couple of little ones were interested in playing with Chase. We’re walking! Gotta end Alzheimer’s! Get busy, you guys! Some kids were walking. A bunch were in strollers. Four college guys were there in their frat T-shirts. Some people carried blue flowers, indicating they have some form of dementia. Some senior citizens walked along with their walking sticks faster than Chase and I were going. We stayed out of their way. Don’t mess with old people. Especially fast ones. Who are carrying sticks. I saw two sets of seniors walking a bit faster than “have to speed up to stop.” They were moving steadily, though. We smiled at each other. Some of the teams wore special shirts rather than the ones from the Alzheimer’s Association. One team had their relationships to their loved one on the back of the shirts in gold glitter: sister, niece, nephew. He looked about five. His aunt or uncle is way too young to have dementia.
All ages. Lots of nationalities. Lots of races. A thousand stories. One goal.
End this hellacious disease.
We walked for those we love. We walked for those we’ve never met but whose stories we empathize with. We walked for those who cannot walk one themselves. We walked for those who will be diagnosed tomorrow. The next day. And all the days after until a cure is found. We may have walked for ourselves.
Chase and I took several quick water breaks for him. I kept an eye on him in the heat. When I started working up a sweat, I took off his Halloween T-shirt. I realized about halfway through that I could finish, but I didn’t want to push him. Silly me. Typical Brittany. We’re walking! Gotta end Alzheimer’s! I’m not stopping until you do! He was a great partner.
My other great partners were family members and friends who donated to support me. I set a monetary goal because we’re supposed to. I didn’t care about reaching it to win any prizes. I just wanted to raise funds for the fight. We hit the goal in a few days. (And I’m going to hang my champion medal up where I will see it and whenever I do, think about everyone who supported me.) I set a new one. We reached that one too. Thank you to all who were so generous!
I’m not setting a new goal, and I’m pleased as can be with what y’all helped me raise. I do want to pass along that the Alzheimer’s Association keeps the donation period open a few more weeks, so if anyone did not donate yet but wanted to, or you didn’t even know about the walk and want to donate, you still can. I’ve included a link to my walk page. It has my story there for why I walked this year. Please check that out whether or not you want to donate. There’s links there to make a donation either online or through the mail, and you can see a chart of how the association uses the money. It’s great!
If you’ve never done a walk like this, I encourage you to do so. You’ll make a difference. And you just might surprise yourself.
Republished with permission from http://rememberingfordad.blogspot.com