My name is Tricia Mullaney. I am a 47 year old woman from Westfield, NJ. I have always been active in a variety of sports, including running, tennis, paddle tennis, and hiking. Exercise is an integral part of my life. And although I have been running throughout my life, I just ran my first marathon in February 2012 in Death Valley with the encouragement of my husband, Paul Hagar, who is also running with the R2R team.
Alzheimer’s disease has affected me deeply, as my mother has been struggling with it for over 12 years now. It really has been a long, slow goodbye. It is hard for me now to remember my “other” mom. My two children have only known their “Gammie” with Alzheimer’s. They have grown up watching the decline of my mother and all the sadness and anxieties that accompany the disease – for her, and for the rest of my entire family.
I am one of six children from an Irish Catholic family, and we are all petrified that we will be the one in the family to inherit the disease. Of course, humor is key to watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer’s; and although it might sound gruesome, we all hope that our sister, Tara, who passed away nearly ten years ago, was the one to get the disease, and that she took the Alzheimer’s to the grave with her.
I am particularly concerned about myself and the disease due to my medical history. At age 39 I suffered a stroke caused by an undiagnosed hole in my heart. Thankfully, I was young and in excellent health when my stroke occurred, so I made a wonderful recovery. Most people would never know that I have suffered any damage to my brain, but I do. I am very aware of the lingering side effects of my stroke, and am very concerned that my stroke has put me at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
I am running with the R2R team to raise awareness of this devastating illness on both the sufferer and their loved ones. I am running to raise the awareness for greater funding and research for Alzheimer’s. I am running for all the caregivers around the world who show their patience, love, empathy and care for the Alzheimer’s patients they are escorting through their final days, months and years of life. And I am running for my mother’s caregiver, Guerline Jean Pierre – our guardian angel, a true living saint. She has allowed my mother to travel through these years of Alzheimer’s with dignity and grace. And allowed my siblings and I to live a life somewhat free of the constant worrying, anxiety and stress over the quality of my mother’s life.
For more information please click on the link for this video: http://vimeo.com/42523131 or below
[Headlock] from Mary-Walker Rippe on Vimeo.