Why I Walk – Kiri Cook

Today, Kiri Cook, Outreach Coordinator to Montgomery County, shares why she Walks to End Alzheimer’s.

Having lost both of my grandfathers to dementia, one to AlzheimerΓÇÖs in 1991 and one to Vascular Dementia this past June, the Walk is one way that I feel like I can fight back. All of my memories of my grandfather on my momΓÇÖs side are after he had already developed AlzheimerΓÇÖs disease; he passed away just after I turned 6. I still feel like I missed out because I never got to know the wonderful artist and creative mind that he is remembered as. Instead I held fast to my Gramma, whose own health was affected by her caregiving role. More recently, we walked another dementia journey with my Grandpa Cook.

I remember vividly the first time that I realized that my Grampa Cook was more than just ΓÇ£a little bit forgetful.ΓÇ¥ I was about 12 years old at the time, he called my parentsΓÇÖ house in Philadelphia and I picked up the phone. ΓÇ£WhoΓÇÖs this?ΓÇ¥ he said. When I told him it was me, he said, ΓÇ£thatΓÇÖs funny, I was trying to call Philadelphia!ΓÇ¥ I had a sinking feeling in my stomach when he hung up the phone without another word, I sat there waiting for the phone to ring again, knowing he would dial the same number in a minute or two. From there it was a slow progression. We eventually found out his diagnosis was Vascular Dementia; heΓÇÖd had cardiovascular issues for years.

I walk because while it is easy to focus on all of the losses associated with Alzheimer’s disease; the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is something we can do to change the course of the disease, and hopefully make it so that someday soon families won’t have to experience these same struggles. In the meantime, it is important that we continue to support the families dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia today.  2012 will be my 7th year participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and I plan to keep walking as long as we still have research to fund and families to support.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this year! Don’t forget to get those last donations turned in by December 5th.┬á Walk with us again next year!

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter (www.alz.org/texas) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.