On September 15th I had the pleasure of walking to End Alzheimer’s with the Hendrick Family. It was a sunny morning, nice breeze, not too hot, a great day for a walk. As I approached the Durham Bulls Athletic Park everything before me was a sea of purple and white, the colors for supporters who want to End Alzheimer’s. My kids kept asking me why I was power walking, “If you’re gonna walk that fast the entire time then I’m not walking with you”. I wasn’t power walking I was just truly excited to see my extended family and to hear David Hendrick be honored. I support many causes but the dearest to me are the ones in which I have witnessed. It’s human nature to feel a connection and naturally build a different kind of appreciation for the struggle.
After I was situated with registration I began looking for the Hendricks. They were all seated in the front of the stadium by the podium. As I listened to the narrator read a speech from David Hendrick my heart swelled with emotion. (You know that kind of choked up feeling when you want to cry but don’t want everyone around to see you so you start swallowing really hard.) Then I took a good look around and stared in the faces of many older men and women who suffer with this debilitating disease. Some were enjoying the day while you could see in the eyes of others, they were lost.
In his speech David Hendrick said, “There was a time when I took care of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Now EVERYONE is taking care of EVERYTHING for me. I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the summer of 2007 – right before my 65th birthday. It was a shock, but I had known for a while that something was “NOT RIGHT” with me. Alzheimer’s has taken away my ability to drive, take care of my lawn and sing on the choir. I can no longer help with my grandchildren or help my wife with day to day chores around the house. I get lost in conversations. I get lost in my own home. Alzheimer’s is a runaway thief that needs to be stopped in its tracks. Not only has it robbed me, but it has robbed my family of the man I would still be if it hadn’t entered our lives”.
Hearing these words makes me fear the unknown. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate, does not come with a warning label, or make an appointment. When it attacks it impacts everyone around you and changes lives forever. Please take some time out to visit the Alzheimer’s Association website to learn more about this disease and show support for Team David, click here . Also join a walk in your community to raise awareness and funds to END Alzheimer’s.