Monday, August 17, 2009


Each week we will be picking three (3) members to spotlight to tell their alzheimer's story and why they are running in this year's New York City marathon. Check in each day or week for new updates on who will be spotlighted and get to know your teammates...(each person is picked at random)


I got involved with the Alzheimer's Association and joined the Junior Committee in 2004. My mother, Ina Griffin Amy, had suffered from Alzheimer's and passed away in April of 2004. My reason for getting involved with the chapter at that time was really to do something in her memory. I only wish I had known about all the great support services the chapter offers while my mother was alive. We could have really benefited from them.

My mother was a truly amazing woman. All who knew her would agree. She was born in Long Island, married shortly after college (although she wanted to be a nun) and moved to Larchmont, NY when she married in the early 1950's. My mom had my 7 brothers & sisters with her first husband, Bill Griffin, before he died of a sudden massive heart attack when they were young. She suddenly found herself widowed in the early 70's with 7 children and thankfully, a lot of faith. My mom had developed a strong faith in God when she was young and to her dying day she said it carried her through everything. She was truly pure of heart. I remember she used to say that "maybe Heaven is right here."

That is how she lived her life. So....she was an avid tennis player and a few years after she was widowed, my mom met my father (who was a 35 year old bachelor) playing tennis. My dad fell head over heels in love with her (yes, and she had SEVEN children) and they married. They had me 2 years later, when my mom was 47. Yes, 47. Did i mention she was an incredible woman?? My mom developed dementia in her late 60's. Unfortunately, my father became very ill at the same time with Parkinson's and dementia. He passed away in 2002 and after his passing, my mom developed full blown Alzheimer's. I'll never forget my mom standing in our living room one afternoon, putting on her coat and purse and telling me that "she was ready for me to take her home." Being that we were home, when I asked where she meant exactly, she proceeded to tell me her childhood home. We were blessed with wonderful caregivers and to them I will always be truly grateful. I spent a lot of time with my mom as she entered final stages of Alzheimer's. She couldn't speak very well at the end, and often would get combative ( a trait she never possessed before the disease took hold) but I would get comfort out of her smile and hugs. My mom suffered a massive heart attack and died on her way to the hospital. It felt like some what of a blessing to us at the time, as she was suffering so much in the later stages.

I never, ever dreamed of running a marathon. I still can't believe I'm doing it!!! I'm running in memory of both of my parents. They loved and supported me so much and it feels great to be doing something for such a wonderful cause in their honor!

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