I became a Champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s when the love of my life, soul mate and husband, Lew, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 57. His brilliant mind seemed to get stuck without warning. His perfect navigation skills became flawed. His precision in daily tasks became erratically impaired. We met in our 40s and talked of growing old together and how lucky we were to have met in mid life but now the shadow of Alzheimer’s changed our lives dramatically.
We discovered the Alzheimer’s Association and first formed a team for the Walk. I continued to co-chair the Norwalk Walk for 5 years. We discovered resources, support groups and education for both Lew who had Alzheimer’s and for me, the caregiver. I was thrilled when a group of us got together in 2013 and founded the Celebrating Hope benefit in Greenwich.
My husband passed away from the disease at the age of 61. Our journey through loss, pain, fear, caregiving, surprises, doctors, hospitals, support groups, hospice, forgetting, remembering, unpredictability, unanswered questions and unfulfilled dreams was devastating. I miss Lew everyday. Our life together through the challenge of Alzheimer’s caused me to become even more of a champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and build awareness for early onset Alzheimer’s. Yet there were comforts in the little blessings, the smiles, the touch, the moments of recognition and the gift of his life to me. As a caregiver, I survived and others will also. However, the ultimate survival is to have a world without Alzheimer’s. That is why I continue to serve on committees and raise awareness through speaking, writing and advocacy. We will win this fight.