My name is Jan Tyda. I am 61 years old and have lived in Chicago all my life. I currently work in Banking Anti-Money Laundering Compliance and have done this for nearly 40 years. I have one son named Jeff, I love gardening and making silk floral arrangements. I try to see the positive in all of life’s experiences – good or bad. Most importantly, I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s!
My late husband, Bruce, was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s at 57 years old. He fought a very brave battle for 6 ½ years, and sadly lost his fight at 63 years old on Sept 6, 2018.
When Bruce was first diagnosed, I found the Alzheimer’s Association website where I educated myself about the disease. I would read something about the disease, cry and then sign off. I would sign on again, read something else, cry and sign out. I did this many times, but always learned something each time to help me begin my plan for our journey.
I have volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association for the past seven years – this year will be our 8th Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We have planned some very successful walks and I have met some really terrific people! Our very first walk was held in Highland Park at Sunset Park. I was asked by the North Shore Walk Committee Chair to speak at the walk since our team raised about $3,500 in two weeks! It was so important to get my story out about Bruce that first year. I spoke about the Alzheimer’s Association website and how it got me on track for a plan.
The information and knowledge I received from the Association helped me to begin to see a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. I wanted to learn everything I could about the disease. I also love to share information on what worked with us during our journey. I have learned always to have a plan A, then B, then C and D and if those do not work, to just keep trying. I find that we are all in this together and it takes a village to get through this. Although my Bruce is no longer here – I want to be an Advocate and continue the work towards a World Without Alzheimer’s! (That white flower!)
This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience, but the Alzheimer’s Association has helped me find the resources I need. And for that, I am forever grateful. By volunteering, we can work together towards our goal of a World Without Alzheimer’s. We are going to find that cure!