Dear Family and Friends,
We all participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for different reasons. Michelle Bries sees her participation as a way to “pay it forward.” Here is Michelle’s story:
“Thank you Norb and Dolly Bries. I choose to pay the joyful memories you have given me forward by being an active member of the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.
“While a junior in high school, my paternal grandparents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. There was, unfortunately, a dramatic event which became the catalyst to move both grandparents into an assisted living facility.
“Like myself, my father is an only child, and the decision to move his parents into a home was not an easy one, but the best. They enjoyed the facility and in their minds, they were staying at the resort in South Carolina they had frequented on vacation over the years. My grandfather raved about the ‘resort’s’ attentive service and was always surprised when the staff at the front desk turned down his Monopoly tip money.
“As the disease progressed, the mental state digressed from pleasant vacation reminiscing to horrid war stories, to forgetting how to hold a spoon. The mental deterioration of my grandparents was also shown in the expression on my father’s face every time we went to visit. My grandparent’s physical presences perished after 8 and 9 years. As taps played for my grandfather, who passed first, the emotion from my family was overpowering. A man who had stormed the beach at Normandy, raised my fabulous father and taught me Chinese Checkers, inspired me to pay what I can forward. The strength my father embodied and the enormous respect I gained for him during this decade, inspired me to pay what I can forward.”
I want to thank Michelle for sharing her story. Sometimes it’s painful to share these stories, because doing so reminds us of all that we have lost. But like many of you, Michelle is using her memories as a challenge.