Friday, September 16, 2011

My Inspiration to Raise Awareness for Alzheimer's

My Grandma Iris Kepner is my inspiration for raising awareness and walking to support the Alzheimer's Association.  I have had first had experience seeing what this disease does to someone.  My grandma was an amazing person; she was caring, smart, loving, loved to travel...I could go on and on for days.  She loved to play the piano, she was valedictorian of her class,  and she was a nurse.  My mom and my aunt followed in her foot steps and also became nurses.  I always loved to go visit her and my grandpa when I was younger.  They would always have deer in their backyard, I loved their house, and I got to see cousins and my moms side of the family.  My cousins and I would always go down in the basement to find old toys to play with, I would always be scared going down there because it was dark but we had a lot of fun.  Every year we would go to the Ozarks at then end of the school year and stay in a cabin on the lake.  We would all look forward to this trip every year.  We stayed at the same resort every year and we would go fishing, play games, and just spend time together.  I have such great memories and I am glad that I can share them with everyone.

I still remember when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's and she knew she had the disease and it would make her so frustrated.  She would try to remember something and get upset because she knew why she could not remember.  It was very hard to see her go though this.  My grandpa took great care of her and he made her have the best life possible while dealing with this disease.  She started to forget who people were, where she was, and how to do daily life tasks.  He still tried to make her life normal by taking her to my high school graduation and still going to the Ozarks.  As the disease progressed she was unable to travel or be left alone; she needed help with everything.  My grandpa hired a lady to help take care of her and she eventually became like part of the family.  She helped take care of my grandma until it was too  much and she had to be taken to a nursing home.  I hated to see her losing her battle with Alzheimer's but she had it for over 10 years.  When we would go visit her in the nursing home she was unable to talk but we would still talk to her, we would wheel her around the nursing home to go see the birds, we would attempt to play the piano for her....she loved everything we did for her and you could tell.  I would always talk to her and even when she could not speak or remember she would also whisper "Mercy Marcie", this was the nickname she gave me.  It always was so exciting to know that she knew we were there with her.  She would always perk up when she would hear the piano being played and when she could hear the birds chirp.  I hate having to remember how bad she was during the end but I love having those memories of visiting with her, brushing her hair, and putting lotion on her face.  She finally lost her battle with Alzheimer's and is not suffering anymore.

 If I can do anything to help spread the word about this disease, raise awareness, and raise money to help research more about this disease I am going to do it.  Watching this disease is horrible and no one should have to die from it.  From now on I am going to walk for Alzheimer's and try to raise as much money as I can and walk in memory and honor of the many who have this disease and the many that have passed away.  Unfortunately my Grandma Iris is not the only family that suffered with this disease; her sister, my Aunt Margie passed away from it and my Grandma Genie is currently living with it.  I also have many friends that have or had family members with it.  Please forward this blog to anyone you  know to help spread the word, if you would like to donate to help me raise money I would appreciate anything.  Here is a Link to my donation page.  I know not everyone is able to donate so please pass this to anyone you know to spread awareness.  ***Thank you to my awesome friend at Ton Tons Gifts on facebook for helping me out.  The first 5 people to donate $100 will get a free t-shirt from her!!!***  She does amazing work!! Go check her out on facebook and tell her I sent you!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Here is a recent picture of Bray and I love it!

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