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Mississippi Woman Champions Mother Living With Alzheimer's Disease Alongside Carrie Underwood

Mississippi Woman Champions Mother Living With Alzheimer's Disease Alongside Carrie Underwood
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September 25, 2019
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Every battle reveals its “champions,” and Amy Forsyth of Madison has earned that title in Central Mississippi’s fight against Alzheimer’s. 

With high school dance team as her only type of performance background, Amy recalled what her Mom used to tell her, that she needed to “grow some guts” –  so she took a chance and entered a contest announced by her favorite artist, Carrie Underwood, at the beginning of the singer’s Cry Pretty Tour 360 in May. Participation in the contest required that each entrant submit a video explaining who his or her own champion is and why; along with a personal performance of the rap in Carrie’s hit song, “The Champion,” with featured artist Ludacris.  
With one lucky fan being chosen to sing “The Champion” song alongside Carrie at each stop on her tour, Amy was the winner for the June 20 concert in Milwaukee.

Amy’s choice of her personal champion was easy: her 80-year-old mom, who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is fighting her own battle with Alzheimer’s. 

The live onstage performance before more than 16,000 people is an honor Amy will never forget.  
“So many emotions were flooding through me – excitement, nerves, the fact that I got to do that FOR MY MOM,” Amy said. “It was VERY emotional and still is, three months later!” 

Amy-and-Carrie-Underwood-Cry-Pretty-Tour-360-The-Champion-Rebecca-moore-photography-(3-of-7)-(1).jpg
Source: Rebecca Moore

Amy’s family’s journey with Alzheimer’s began nearly a decade ago, when her mom, Gail Meindl, began to show signs of the disease. “If you had told me then that she would be in a wheelchair, unable to walk, down to 70 pounds, and not know who I am today, I would have never, ever imagined that to be true,” she said.  
Amy’s dad visits Mrs. Meindl twice a day at the nursing facility she has called home for three years.  “His world revolves around going to visit her,” Amy said.  

She describes Alzheimer’s as “a tragic disease – so much so, that unless you’ve experienced it, I don’t think words convey the brutal reality for the entire family. I know this may seem trite, but Carrie’s music gets me through my sad moments. On the worst of days, her music can lift me up.”

Communication with her mom these days is rare, Amy said.
“On her good days, she will say a few words. She doesn't recognize most people; however, some of her childhood friends are able to connect with her. And she still has moments when I see my mom in her.
“I was able to visit her after my onstage appearance with Carrie Underwood in Milwaukee. I went to Green Bay the next day and was able to show her the video and story. Her eyes glistened. She didn't say much, but I was able to tell her I did that all for her. I truly believe, in that moment, she was with me.”

With Alzheimer’s there is no remission or cure, and Amy believes that not fighting the debilitating disease “isn’t even an option.”   
“We have to continue this fight and keep raising awareness for OUR CHAMPIONS who are all fighting this horrific disease,” she said. “WE HAVE TO FIND A CURE!”

The lyrics for the rap portion of Carrie Underwood’s song “The Champion” are below.  

The C is for the courage I possess through the drama.
The H is for the hurt but it’s all for the honor
A is for my attitude working through the patience
Money comes and goes, so the M is for motivation.
‘Gotta stay consistent, the P is to persevere 
I is for integrity, innovative career
O is optimistic, open and never shut AND the 
N is necessary ‘cause... I’m never giving up!!

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise
awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. On Walk day, participants will
honor those affected by Alzheimer's disease with Promise Flowers during the Promise Garden
Ceremony – a moving display of hope to represent the personal reasons participants join
together to fight Alzheimer’s. Participants can join a team or register to walk as an individual at
alz.org/walk.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s - Metro Jackson will be held Saturday, Oct. 12th, and it will begin at the Mississippi State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m., with the Opening Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. The Walk will begin at 9 a.m. 

https://www.wlbt.com/2019/10/02/jackson-woman-brings-awareness-alzheimers-while-singing-with-carrie-underwood/

Alzheimer's Association

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.

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