Friday, May 8, 2015

The Alzheimer's Box

Several years ago, I went through piles of papers from my various volunteer organizations and threw them into different totes. This was a haphazard way of sorting them and was much quicker than making file folders and filing them away. Besides, at the time, my file space was quite limited so that may not have been an option.

Today, I sorted through the Alzheimer’s tote. It was quite an interesting assortment of papers.  The first task at hand was to sort into three piles: recycle, burn, and file. I quickly pared down the amount of information to keep to a smaller stack.

In the Alzheimer’s box, I found articles that I thought were lost forever. I found the article about my friend, Karen Henley, published in Newsday Magazine. Karen was caring for her forty-two-year-old husband Mike, who had familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her story is one of courage, perseverance, and most of all, love.

I found an article that made me smile. My friend, David Oliver, was one of the researchers who biked in the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride. I met him when we both served on the local Alzheimer’s chapter board of directors. He had joined the cross-country ride (San Francisco to D.C.) for the segment from Sedalia to Jefferson City. I drove into town early for the send off. David and four others took the scenic route to Jefferson City. David was dedicated to go above and beyond to further Alzheimer’s research funding. David passed away from cancer in March. It was especially touching to see this article and remember his wonderful sense of humor and optimistic outlook on life.

I found several years of Advocate’s Guides and Facts and Figures from some of the fifteen Advocacy Forums I’ve attended over the years. I go through these two books each year to see what we’ve accomplished and what we need to tackle. They serve as a valuable resource for me.

Of course, I had several folders of Alzheimer’s Walks, previously known as “Memory Walks.” I was able to pitch a lot of old forms. At one time, we had to make our own! I spent hours developing signup sheets for team captains and posters for events. It’s much easier now that the Alzheimer’s Association and the chapter have everything online and with a few clicks, we can download and print any report, form, or poster we need.

Then to top it off, there’s always the odd pieces of information. Prints of the airline tickets for one of the years my granddaughter went to D.C. with me. I found a stub from the Smithsonian and a map of the Old Town Trolley. I pitched an outdated congressional book.

Tucked in among the Alzheimer’s papers were a few from Sedalia Business Women. Oops, guess that was in the wrong box entirely. That one is still intact. Who knows, when I go through it I might find more Alzheimer’s memorabilia.

It’s kind of sad to look back at years and years of events that have come and gone. I’m happy to say my passion for Alzheimer’s advocacy is still alive. I’m just looking forward to the day when it is no longer necessary and Alzheimer’s is eradicated.      

Copyright © May 2015 by L.S. Fisher

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