Friday, November 12, 2010

Thank you note!!!

I feel guilty not sharing this wonderful note that was sent to me by Andrea -- the Memory Walk Coordinator of the Alzheimer's Association Orange County Chapter -- because although we did the fund-raising, you did the fund-giving!!! This Thank You deserves to be shared...

Hi Kristen,

You and your team put a BIG smile on my face this past Saturday. Your team sign was so creative – and your team spirit was contagious. What a great group of people you have put together, Kristen. Youthful and full of life.

You have moved this cause forward in a way you can’t imagine.

Upside to Dementia has a great deal to be proud of. I am not sure if you understand the impact you have made – but I want you to know it is immense throughout our community. I wanted to personally thank you so very much for your support for this Memory Walk. It is people like you and all the people on your team that will bring us closer to a day when Alzheimer’s Disease is but a memory.

You and your team have raised $2,100 – that is no small amount. You are helping to serve the people in this community affected by this cruel disease – one dollar at a time. Our donation site will be open until November 30th –keep up the amazing efforts –there is still time to meet your goal of $3,000! Soon after that date, you will be receiving your certificate for your incentive prizes for all of the money you have raised.

We have only begun to reach out to the community in Huntington Beach and the surrounding areas – but with people like you behind our efforts, we know we can succeed. I would love to hear more about what helped you succeed and how you are connected to the cause.

Thank you, Kristen, for all you do for this cause. We need you support and we are so lucky to have it.

All my best to you and your team!

-Andrea McDonald

Thank you again to all our wonderful friends and family! We love you! Here is the official picture taken from the walk!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Memory Walk 2010

Yesterday was the much anticipated Memory Walk in Huntington Beach! We raised $2100 which turned out to be close to 1% of the total fund-raised amount for the entire walk! Not bad for our first time! There were nine of us total including Colby and Rich, Matt and Blair, and then of course Blake, Tony, Megan, Mom, Me, and then 2500 other walkers.

I'm kind of crazy and spent almost 3 hours making a poster for the walk. (There was a poster contest and I still don't know who won, but it should have been us!) And, no, I don't have that much time on my hands, and it's one of the reasons I'm still so tired from the last few days.

What made the poster more special was in the inclusion of names that our friends and family donated in memory or honor of. Over the past three months, I didn't feel too annoying asking for donations because half of the donations weren't made for just my family... half of the donations were from people who have a loved one with Alzheimer's. I say it every time, but I'm always surprised at how many people are affected by this disease. So, we didn't just walk for my Dad and for our future, but we also walked for....
Lucy Mitchell, Faye Taylor, Ruth Sciumbato, Sophie Barnes, Gail McGinty, May Henderson, Jim Richardson, Ada Henderson, Bob Henderson, Katsuko Elegino, Richard D. Meriwether, Grandma G., Vincente Miramontes, Harry Manning, Karen Herschberger, Mary Gilligan and more.

I've felt so empowered the last few months fund-raising and being a part
of the Alzheimer's community, and now it's over until next year. (Although, that's not true at all.) Megan and I are definitely still involved with everything to do with Alzheimer's because of good old Dad and I have to say I've become quite passionate about the cause if you haven't guessed by now. The numbers and statistics don't lie and researchers are struggling to find which route to take in finding a cure because of recent set-backs (although there have been break-throughs on diagnoses of the disease). I really think we're going to be seeing and hearing a lot more about Alzheimer's in the media in the next few years; in fact it's already starting.

Again, I want to thank everyone for their support and for making us feel less powerless about this disease. I also want to thank my friends who walked with us. Who knew a bunch of twenty-somethings would care enough to be walking in an Alzheimer's walk. We hope next year's group can be even bigger!

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Happy 71st Birthday Dad (on Nov. 4th)!!! Best of all Dad's oldest friend Mike O'Rourke was in town to celebrate with us. And even better, Dad was wearing his shiny, gold, skull and bones pirate necklace from Halloween, which was 5 days earlier. He kept saying, "I wasn't sure about this when I first got it, but I think it's ok." He had been wearing it all week!

While everyone was doing Zumba, the four of us had our own little celebration with balloons and presents. Megan and I made Dad a birthday poster and bought him a shirt that says, "Who Farted" which he thought was a hoot, and Mike got Dad a CD of Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong.

Dad loves to open presents. Every year at Christmas, he would be so dramatic while opening his presents; shaking the box, guessing what it was, tearing each little corner of the wrapping... we usually ended up yelling, "Dad!!!!! Just open it!" So, of course that's what he did while opening his birthday gifts -- Lots of jokes and funny faces too. After unwrapping, we decorated Rice Krispy treats with icing and sprinkles and listened to the new CD.

After Zumba was over, the rest of the residents filed into the activity room to celebrate Dad's B-day. I've mentioned the birthdays at Whittier Place before, but I will reiterate how special the staff makes everyone feel on their birthday. They baked a chocolate cake with a layer of Bananas in the middle and then drew fish on the side of the cake with the colorful icing we brought. Dad had a blast!

When we all asked him to make a wish, he took so long to think of one and the Activities Coordinator was holding this heavy cake in front of him for at least 30 seconds while he thought of a wish. Then after figuring out his wish, he had trouble blowing out the candles, so he started to take his teeth out because he thought that would help the situation. Lucky for you.... I got it all on video but we're having a difficult time uploading it, so I will share it another time.....

On a side note, we're always told when dealing with Alzheimer's patients not to reason with them too much. Reasoning and Rationality don't really work with this disease... but there are exceptions to this rule. The day after Dad's B-day, I got a call from Whittier and he was anxious. Mostly, he wants a job. I agreed to help him find one, hoping to calm him down a bit, but he kept repeating how much he wanted a job, so I responded with this statement: "Well, I don't know if you know, but our country is in a recession and unemployment is very high. There are a lot of people who don't have a job and it's really hard to find one. So, we can try to get you one, but it might be more difficult than you think." And he said, "Oh, I didn't know that. Okay." It made perfect sense to him. Sometimes I think he just wants to be talked to like a normal person.

Remember when I said that Dad gained 4 pounds since he last went to the doctor and we didn't know why? Well, Tabitha (Dad's gf) has informed me that she gives him half her food because she never finishes it. Now we know.