When my Mother Eleanor was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago, I had no idea the tragic journey my Family would succumb to. Our Mother was the Rock of our large family. Mom the Navy nurse met my Father a Navy Doctor and thereafter lovingly devoted her life to her eight children and husband. I had and still have (@ 92) the Worlds Best Mother EVER! She is my HERO and was the reason I joined this team four years ago. Every time I lace up my running shoes, I remember that first year my Mother said to me, “I know your doing something really big for me and I’m so excited.” Simple words that get me inspired and out running almost every day since.
To be very brief about the tragidy of Alzheimers, it is a disease that ultimately destroyed my Family. Some family’s bond, become unitedly strong and face the tragic diagnosis with love and kindness. Other’s become dysfunctional. Unfortunate for myself, my family fell to the later. Four years ago, I was so alone and broken from the loss of my Mom to Alzheimer’s as the disease progressively took my Mom’s memory. But ever worse, dysfunction amongst siblings tried to take my Mother permantely from me.
I am a fighter. I believe in fighting for whats right (my hero taught me that). My hardest battle of my life was fighting to keep my Mother in my life. Over the past 4 years, joining Run To Remember/ATEA was my personal saving grace. Through painful Court hearings in California, I would return back to NYC and join my teammates and Coaches. Some knew the pain and heart ache I was challenged with and listened probably more than they really wanted to. Others just supported me as a running mate. Oddly as it sounds, my Alzheimer’s team replaced the void of a lost family.
My inicial goal was that first Marathon, finish it for Mom, fundraise, bring awareness to anyone who would listen to me. Today you could say I continue to run every year because of each and everyone of my teammates and our outstanding coaches Brian, Jeff, Ali and Glen. I am so inspired and heartached by everyones journey on this team. Incredibly, every year I receive donations from past teammates. Glens correct when he says “runners are special people.”
Selfishly, maybe its because I don’t feel so alone around other’s that understand the pain this disease puts on all of us. I look forward to the day when we find that cure and I still have all my running-mates as friends to celebrate the END of ALZHEIMER’S. That will be the biggest keg party at Steelcase ever!
And to end with amazing news. I will be marring Paul Cote (the man who stood by me through all my family grief) inspired to start running because of this team, at the Rock and Roll Las Vegas !/2 Marathon on Nov.17,2013 my Moms 93rd Birthday. Then a vist to San Diego to tell Mom how “We all did something very special for her on Nov 3, 2013.”