Did you know that 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. To put that in perspective, it kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In fact, every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease. That is why I will be joining this year Alzheimer’s Walk here in Charleston. But, for one local woman. it’s much more personal..
Mary Ann Johnson and her family know first hand how devastating a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be.
“They miss their dad too” Johnson exclaimed. “It was difficult for them to see the changes and the personality changing.”
Right now, 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Every family you meet, it seems like someone is having symptoms of Alzheimer’s,” Johnson added. “And, it is painful to watch someone you love begin to change and it’s hard to accept.”
Mary Ann lost her husband Bucky to the disease last year.
“He’s been my sweetheart since I was 18,” she added. “I was in high school and he was in college.”
They were married for 63 years and have five children, 13 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.
“I think this disease if we don’t do something about it, can affect any of them or their families,” she said.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a network of support not only for those living with the disease, but for their caregivers as well.
“Even though you have a large family, it’s still important to be around people who are going through what you are going through,” Johnson said. “Knowing that you could be a part of trying to cure the disease and give people the resource of education is a big reason I like to do this. A lot of love and a lot of laughter. You’ve got to learn to laugh. You can’t hold onto anything destructive. You’ve got to let it go and keep going. I’m still kicking, just not as high. So for 82, I won’t complain.”
Join our 13 news team and hundreds of others this Saturday at Appalachian Power Park. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m.