Sarah Armisto is fighting Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in honor of her father, John, who lost his battle with Lewy body dementia on June 20, 2019.
In 2014, my life changed forever when my father began to show signs and symptoms of what we discovered was Lewy body dementia. At the time, I was an 18-year-old college freshman and the concept of dementia was foreign to me. I definitely didn’t know that the day he was hospitalized after his first severe hallucination would be the last day that I would have a fully coherent conversation with him.
After my freshman year away at school, I came home to take on the role as one of Dad’s primary caregivers. It was during this time that I began living in the moment, making every new memory with my dad more special than the last.
For nearly five years, I watched this selfless, caring and self-sufficient man deteriorate before my eyes, tirelessly fighting his disease. In 2016, I realized that I needed to do something to help raise awareness and help fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias. That’s when I found the Alzheimer’s Association and created my team ‘ALZ We Want Is A Cure’ for my first Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Losing a loved one to dementia is something that I wish on no one. That is why it’s so important to raise awareness, so that one day, Alzheimer’s and other dementias can be a thing of the past.
During my time fundraising on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, I have helped raise more than $20,000 as a Walk to End Alzheimer’s planning committee member. I have also traveled to my home state capital of Albany, NY and to Washington D.C. to share my dad’s story as an Alzheimer’s advocate. Despite the endless support around me, I always felt that no one really understood what I was going through until I met so many other young advocates impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
No matter what, I know my mom and I did everything we could possibly do for my dad, but it wasn’t easy; it took its toll on all of us. I implore caregivers: Take care of yourselves! You are superheroes, but it’s okay to hang your cape up once in a while and do something for yourself. You cannot take care of your loved one if you are not well yourself—self-care is the best care.
I realize how lucky I was to have my dad in my life for as long as I did. Although my dad passed away in June 2019, I know he will always look over me, and I hope to continue making him proud with all that I do, bringing this world one step closer to a world without Alzheimer’s.
Visit Sarah's Walk to End Alzheimer's page here.
Walk to End Alzheimer's