By Heidi Smith of ThurstonTalk.com
Looking back, the signs were there. As early as 2001, Christophe Allen’s mother Jeannine was forgetting things – little things to be sure, but enough to make her family notice. “She would go to Costco and buy a bunch of stuff and then the next week, go to Costco and buy a whole bunch of the same stuff. It was piling up,” says Allen. “We’d say, ‘Mom, you already have a lot of that,’ and she’d say, ‘Oh, I thought we needed it.’ She was covering it up.”
The ‘it’ in this case was early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which struck while she was in her late 50’s. By the time she died at 74 in 2016, the disease had progressed to the point that her later years were spent at The Hampton Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Tumwater. “She was a very proud woman and even though she had to have known something was not right early on, she never would admit it,” says Allen. “I don’t know if it would have changed anything but maybe if she could have acknowledged the situation earlier and started taking medication that would have slowed the progression, it might have given her a few more years of clarity.”
Allen and his father Tom are co-owners of Acme Fuel in Olympia and this year, they’re implementing a method of honoring Jeannine. The latest truck in their delivery fleet is purple – the signature color of the Alzheimer’s Association – and for every gallon of fuel the truck delivers, Acme will donate one cent to the organization. In the short time since it began delivering on January 4, the truck already raised $524.
“It’s going to be a good thing for the Association,” says Acme general manager Todd Deck. “We estimate it will raise about $4,000 a year, depending on how cold it gets.”