My mother developed Young Onset Alzheimer’s disease at 58 years old. This had life-changing and devastating consequences for my whole family. My father had to figure out how balance a full-time job with full-time caregiving for my mother. My sister and I, in our twenties at the time, reconsidered our futures in a new and dramatically different light.
At the same time, we had to assume a new care-giving role with our mother. We felt deep anguish over knowing we would no longer continue to learn from her, as she sank further into the depths of this disease.
My mother died seven years later at the age of 65, but what I recall most was her resolve and resilience. My mother survived a complicated case of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and proudly wore a “I survived cancer” t-shirt. However the Alzheimer’s disease could not be overcome. Despite this, my mother bravely persevered in living life to its fullest. In the face of a relentlessly progressive illness, I was inspired by that bravery.
In her honor, I have dedicated myself to fight for other suffers of Young Onset AD and their families. One day, I want us to be able to wear a “I survived Alzheimer’s” t-shirt.