Esther & Mark Corcoran
Moments of hope were in the air at the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Hartford. Thousands of people gathered to Bushnell Park to walk in support of finding a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. The crowd surrounded the stage as the opening ceremonies began and raised their flowers in the air. Individuals on stage represented each of the flowers and found that they were not alone. For Mark Corcoran, his moment of hope came when he looked out to the crowd and realized that he was not alone in his journey.
Mark was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s far too soon. He and his wife, Esther, have been in this fight together for a few years now. His health didn’t seem to be right when they went to visit his sister on a trip to London. As they were exploring the city, Mark began to black out and he woke up in an English hospital. He described his time in the hospital as “primitive, like he was in Alice in Wonderland.” The doctors did various brain scans on him and showed that something was wrong. When they returned to the United States, Esther took him to be evaluated and find out what was really wrong with him.
It was about three years after returning to the United States when Esther and Mark received the actual diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s. The doctor had no suggestions and didn’t give any support or direction. Esther was more in shock than denial and didn’t really know what to do. She realized it was important to ask questions, get clarification, and keep pursuing to get the answers needed.
Esther found that she needed more support from somewhere. That is when she turned to the Alzheimer’s Association. Esther and Mark get together with the G.A.P. (Giving Alzheimer’s Purpose) group twice a month for lunch.
One week before they decided to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, they set up a fundraising page hoping that people would support them. Esther sent the link through email and Facebook and the response they got was overwhelming. They raised more than $2,000.
It is important to realize that Alzheimer’s disease can bring people together in unexpected ways. At the Walk, Mark had the honor of standing on stage during the opening ceremonies and represent the participants with Alzheimer’s. Seeing all the people heading in the same direction blew him away. The woman representing the caregivers ran over to Esther and cried with her because they were together in that moment. Looking out into the crowd was Mark’s moment of hope and he realized he is not alone in the fight.