Michael Tedeschi has committed his life to helping support those with Alzheimer's disease, and he began at a time that he never anticipated. A lifelong Rhode Islander and resident of Coventry, he has lived and works in town as Parks Foreman with the Coventry Parks and Recreation Department. He said he met his late wife, Sherri, 40 years ago and married in 1986. He explains that when she turned 49, she started having memory loss, and he did not know what to think, but he mentioned that there could have been some signs earlier in her life as well.
He said they began having tests, and he never thought it could be Alzheimer's until the diagnosis.
"I had a grandmother and a great-grandmother who had Alzheimer's, but I just thought it affected older adults. "I was unaware that people could have it in the 40's. The diagnosis was an eye opener.
"I thought there was no way I would get through it," Michael said "It is an ordeal I would not wish on anyone to have to go through. I met my second wife later, and I feel truly blessed. I never thought I could be so fortunate twice. She has been incredible, and so have been my family and friends, so I thank God for them."
Michael has been active with the Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's over the last decade in different locations and started attending with Sherri in the early years. His involvement in the Walk has a passion.
"We had been attending the Providence Walk, but in 2014, she couldn't go anymore, so we switched to the one in Newport near the water, which she loved. "We continue to raise money in her name, Team Sherri.
"In the past we would raise money through car washes, chicken dinners, barbecues and raffles, but this year we raised $6,000 right before the pandemic hit."
They held a Venison game dinner the first week of March that raised nearly $5,000, as well as a Generous Pitch Tournament in January to raise the funds. They will be participating in the September 13 Walk, which anyone can do in their backyard, their street, trails or in the gym. People can download the Walk to End Azlheimer's app or go to alz.org/ri/walk in order to set up teams, raise funds and engage in the event at the time and day of the event.
"We will walk around our town instead or maybe in Newport by the beach where she loved to be," he said. "We will be away from people, but we still will be very much connected."
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. The organization offers educational programs and support groups, with all currently being virtual, while also fighting for legislative and community public policy initiatives. More information on the Rhode Island Chapter can be found at alz.org/ri.
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.