Friday, July 23, 2010

Spotlight: Amy Ellixson

Each week we will be picking a few members to spotlight to tell their Alzheimer's story and why they are running in this year's ING New York City Marathon. Check in each day or week for new updates on the highlighted members. This is a great way to get to know your teammates...(each person is picked at random).

Amy (far left) and grandmother beside her

Running the ING New York Marathon has been a goal of mine for a long time. While I am extremely excited to finally have the opportunity to achieve this goal, I am even more excited about the passion I have for this particular race because I am using it to help a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

My grandmother, Helen Oakley Clayton, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 8 years ago. For those of you who have family members or friends afflicted with this disease, you can understand the heartache of how this disease can affect you, your family, and your loved one with Alzheimer’s.

I will be proudly running this race in honor of my grandmother. Alzheimer’s has affected her in a way that makes her own children, and grandchildren, unrecognizable to her. It is extremely painful to be looked at with a blank stare by someone you love so much.

My grandmother is no longer the grandmother I’ve known most of my life. She can no longer run after my cousin to discipline him after he bit one of us, she can no longer cook for 30 people at a time, she can no longer clean and do laundry for her children and grandchildren, she can no longer garden and make quilts. I’ve always been mesmerized by my grandmother’s strength and have often wondered how she became the wonderful person she is.

Growing up, I continuously watched her work hard and do things for other people. I have watched her gracefully give her heart and soul to her children and grandchildren everyday and can only hope that someday, I will be a fragment of the kind person she is.

You can imagine how difficult it is to see my now extremely skinny grandmother

continuously sob because she wants to go “home.” She can’t even attempt to find her “home” because she doesn’t have the strength to walk.

So, my dear, sweet, grandmother, this race is for you. With this race, I will continue to hope and pray that when you leave this world and this life, you will finally find your “home” in heaven.

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