By Cassie Moore
My mother got me addicted to Chai tea when I was 5 years old. Every morning before school, she drove me to the Starbucks in our wooded area. All of our conversations were goofing around. She called me ‘boss’ and played into me being self-assured. I was into sports. She was a tomboy too. I wore basketball shorts until 6th grade–always.
Now, my wardrobe has diversified, and I’m a senior in high school. I have struggled for six years to make sense of something that I have yet to come to terms with.
My mother is being pulled out of my life by early onset Alzheimer’s, and every day I search for ways to cope with this disease.
I am forced to remind myself of the woman I know she would have raised me to be. In the face of adversity I refuse to give up, and in the face of tragedy I cannot relent. But rather, I look onwards to what I can to contribute to the world despite a seemingly impassable roadblock—not having my mother to guide me.
The woman she raised me to be is one who will not cripple under pressure and instead will use emotion to do something for the greater good.
So, I push forward. I Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Lori’s 12th Man Team, because that is exactly what my mom would want me to do. While walking to end Alzheimer’s focuses on raising money to help search for a cure, it does much more for the people affected by the disease.
I walk to show the diversity of people affected by the disease. Alzheimer’s changes the lives of children, aunts, uncles, parents, husbands, wives cousins, family friends–everyone touched by it.
I walk so people in the future do not have to lose all that my mom lost. She had happy and eventful years in her future; all of which faded away following her diagnosis. Meaningful lives are stripped away by anyone in contact with Alzheimer’s.
In my quest to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, I aim to stress the effect it has on the person diagnosed with the disease. I Walk to End Alzheimer’s for my mom Lori because if able, she would be walking along side me.
I remember the woman she was rather than a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was powerful in the workplace, loving as a mother and admirable to all as a human being. It’s not the disease that defines her–it’s who she was before.
I walk to shed light on the fact that this disease is affecting more and more young people. It takes the identity of those diagnosed regardless of age. I walk, because I refuse to believe that has to be the future of our society.
Although it’s a widely known fact that Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, those who are not yet affected don’t understand the toll it takes on all involved. Knowing the pain that I have felt and continue to feel, I do not accept that other people must feel like this in the future.
I try as hard as I can to raise money and awareness about this disease because its prevalence will only increase through the years.
No individual should live in fear of forgetting who they are, and no child should have to watch as their parent forgets them.
I Walk to End Alzheimer’s in honor of my mom, Lori, and while she will forget me, I will never forget the daughter she raised me to be.