Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spotlight - Fred Battista

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 day for new updates on who will be spotlighted and get to know your teammates...(each person is picked at random)

I'm running in the TCS New York City Marathon to help reclaim the future for millions. By joining team Athletes to End Alzheimer's, I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

This year marks my fifth year running for the Alzheimer’s Association. and I’d like to preclude my story with how encouraged all of you (returning and new) have made me in  that we are not alone and we will find a cure, and in the meantime that we are contributing  to providing those in need of the support services they so drastically need.

Just as important is the role we play as messengers to the cause on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

As many of you are aware, my mom was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s close to seven years ago. I have shared my connection with team over the years therefore many of my returning team members are familiar with my connection to Alzheimer’s as noted below.

My Mom hosted Christmas Eve dinner every year since as long as I can recall. My families along with my two brothers gathered at my folk’s house each year. Including our kids and their spouses we total over 20! She does all the preparing. Being of Italian decent that includes a variety of pasta and seafood dishes. 2007 Christmas Eve preparation became increasingly difficult as she just couldn’t keep up with all that was required. She became very frustrated and depressed. That is when we took her for tests and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She went from an incredibly smart and independent senior to one that has difficultly doing and recalling the simplest day to day activities.

She was an avid member of America Online until the age of 80 sending emails daily to her 9 grandchildren who were off at college. She would check the results of my NYRR’s races online and before I made it home would call me on my cell to congratulate me on my time!

It was especially difficult for my Dad who was 88 years old, since she literally did everything for him from “soup to nuts”: the check book, the savings accounts, the birthday gifts, retirement planning, cooking, housecleaning, you name it she did it. On May 9th, 2011 my Dad passed away. She was never able to fully grieve the passing of her life partner of 67 years (I suppose it is a matter of opinion if that was a positive or not) Although her condition worsened considerably after his passing

That’s where my story changed, from May ’11 – Feb ’12  my brother and I become her primary caretaker on weekends. As we at first were only able to find 24/5 (Mon AM– Sat AM) care for her . He stayed with her on Saturday’s, I on Sunday’s (We now have 24/7 care for her). Each week for 24 hours I saw how Alz affects a person.

Today, she continues to maintain a positive upbeat attitude which to me is simply amazing. She is no longer able to speak in full sentences and does not recognize any of her family members but still is quick with a smile and a laugh! That is why she is my inspiration is all I do! 

No comments:

Post a Comment