Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: Briana Fichtner

Each week we will be picking 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 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for new updates on who will be spotlighted and get to know your teammates...(each person is picked at random)

I am connected to Alzheimer's via my grandmother, Sophie Blaskewicz. She was diagnosed at age 59, a few months after I was born, and suffered for 16 years. It was a long, difficult road for my family, I think especially for my grandfather Stanley. He was her caretaker for years. I remember times when she would wander off and he'd find her down the street at the neighbors, after only he'd gone to pick up the paper or some groceries. Eventually, she reached the point of entering a home. After that, he still spent every day visiting her. This took a toll on him emotionally and financially. Alzheimer's however, really impacts the entire family- I witnessed this for the first 16 years of my life. It was difficult for my mother, my uncle, and even my cousins and I as grandchildren.

This fall, I am turning 30 years old. I've always had it in the back of my mind to run the marathon, so I figured this was the milestone year to do so. Everything was falling into place and, given an opportunity to run for such a great cause, it became the perfect storm. Now or never! For the past 7 years, since I've lived in New York, I've participated in a variety of NYRR races - including two Brooklyn Half-Marathons. However, this is my first full marathon and what better one to do than NYC!

Good luck to all my Run2Remember teammates!!

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