Pam Mittison’s journey with Alzheimer’s began when her father David Jackson Jr. was diagnosed in 2005.
“My father was a fighter,” Mittison says. “He fought for his country in World War II. He fought to save enough money to marry his bride by working two jobs. He fought to start his own business. He fought for his church, education, equality, respect and prosperity.”
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s took from Jackson — as it does from so many others — his memories, abilities and light.
“It robbed him of all his muscle memory, not just the short-term memories,” she says. “He was a man of faith. His favorite verse was 2 Timothy 4:7, ‘I fought the good fight, I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.’ It is my legacy to continue his fight.”
Mittison and her family reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association for support and resources — and Mittison began fighting.
“The Alzheimer’s Association was instrumental in helping my family with the caregiving process,” she says. “It also showed me other ways in which I could get involved and try to make a difference.”
Mittison started participating with the Association in the Detroit Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2009, just about a year before Jackson passed from dementia on Christmas Eve in 2010. This year, as in years past, she serves as team caption of David’s Disciples in honor of her father.
Additionally, she now serves as an Alzheimer’s Association Advocate, working closely with the Michigan Legislature to raise awareness and support of the need for a Dementia Unit as part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Her unshakeable faith, appreciation for her family and commitment to her father’s fight continue to push her to do more.
“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. Families need more help and support, and we need a cure. I’ll continue to do all that I can to try to make that happen.”
For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter, visit alz.org/gmc or call the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.