My mom has been living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s for over nine years, diagnosed when she was just 53. This is why I walk to end Alzheimer’s. This year will be my fourth Walk in honor of her and the millions of people diagnosed with this disease.
Some people mistakenly think that Alzheimer’s is a “cute” disease that happens to old people when they lose their memory.
When I posted a video on Facebook last year of my mom barely being able to move without my support during the mother-son dance at my wedding, people got a better understand how devastating Alzheimer’s can be. It isn’t cute at all. And when you see firsthand what this disease does to someone you love, it makes you want to do whatever you can to fight the disease and help wherever and whenever possible.
I’m also constantly inspired by my father, who has never wavered.
Dad is there taking care of my mom 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He does anything and everything you can imagine and more for her, always with a smile on his face. This is one of the many reasons I’ve found my Walk experience to be so rewarding. I do it for my mother, who has the disease, and my father, her devoted husband and caregiver.
Knowing that Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death in the top 10 in the U.S. that cannot be slowed, prevented or cured, the importance of walking and raising as much money as possible is beyond critical.
My sister and her fiancé had been involved with the Walk in D.C. and it was their example that inspired me to reply to the email asking me to help out with the San Francisco walk two years ago. I started out as the chair of the sponsorship sub-committee, and this year I was lucky enough to be asked to co-chair the San Francisco Walk. I jumped at the opportunity!
I was able to raise just over $2,500 last year, and my goal this year is to top $3,000.
The most important thing anyone can do to raise funds is just ask. You never know which of your friends, family or coworkers might have a connection to the disease – or who just want to support you because they care about you! My wife Whitney and I discovered this quickly when we began our fundraising efforts, and it left us feeling so inspired.
I walk for my mom and my dad. I also walk for me.
I walk to raise Alzheimer’s awareness as much as I walk to raise money to put an end to husbands, wives, sons and daughters having to spend their lives caring for the people they love instead of enjoying the everyday moments that make life with those family members so special. I walk so that I can live in a future without Alzheimer’s.
About the Author: Chris Reynolds is the co-chair for the San Francisco Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You can visit his team page here.