Great Ideas Come From Tiny Places

Brad and Mom, Aug. 2013.

Brad and Mom, Aug. 2013.


I feel like sometimes I don’t give my kids enough credit for how awesome I really think they are. Hopefully, all parents feel this way about their children, but I certainly believe I used up all of my luck finding Jim and having Frances and Brad as my offspring. They keep me grounded, they keep me focused and moving forward and they keep me laughing and having fun. They also make sure I am able to view the world through fresh eyes. How much more could a girl want?

I recently was fortunate enough to go to a big, fancy luncheon that honored some local philanthropists. Over 500 people were there. It was great to see so many “givers” in a world that often seems filled with “takers”.

Two of the honorees were young girls that have been raising money and volunteering at a home with programs for disabled children. They were so inspiring and selfless.  There were also local business owners that donate millions of dollars for programs to help a wide range of needs. I was just amazed.

That evening at the dinner table I told Frances and Brad about the luncheon. When I got to the part about the young girls and their acts of philanthropy, both kids were also impressed.  Brad took it a step further.

“We should do that. We should raise money to help someone.” (Guess he forgot about the money we just raised for the Alzheimer’s Association)

“Yes, you are right, we should.  Who would you like to raise money for?”

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but kids are always full of surprises.  At his age, Frances had raised money to save the Florida Panthers, even asking for donations instead of gifts for her birthday that year. Brad is very concerned about Tigers so I think I was assuming that was where this conversation was headed.

“Alzheimer’s. Let’s raise money for Alzheimer’s research. I think that is what we should do. We could sell stuff. No! Wait!! I know what we can do! We can have a run. We can do a race like the one you did in San Francisco and raise money that way. And we can sell stuff at the race. We could raise lots of money and we could have fun. Should we do a mile, a 5K or a 1/2 or full marathon?” The conversation went on for quite a while, with Frances joining in wholeheartedly.

Proud Momma moment. At the same time, there was a tiny sorrow  seeping into my conscious. Is it such a good thing to have my 9 year old so focused on this disease, he jumps at the chance to raise money?  Shouldn’t he want to just get some money and go to the store for some baseball cards or a video game or something? It is ironic;  I am proud and at the same time wistfully sad.

I watched Jim as our conversation progressed and searched for clues on his thoughts. He seemed excited as well about the prospect of doing something and he didn’t seem sad or bothered or upset. Good.

I want him to know that we will be there for him. We will be there for each other. It is OK. He used to worry a lot about us and apologize. Jim has a horrible guilt that he carries with him about this disease and his children possibly succumbing to its tangles one day. I have assured him I will keep fighting and it seems, by having conversations like this one, our children will fight too. We are a team and I am glad he can see our strength and our determination to help others and help ourselves at the same time. As the disease progresses, it doesn’t seem to weigh as heavy on his mind. There are small, tiny blessings sometimes.

I only wish we could help him too. Why does it take so long for a cure? How can we speak to and see someone on the other side of the world but we can’t find a cure to a disease that is ravishing the minds of millions of people? People who are loved and who have so much more living to do? Why can humans figure out how much water is on a planet millions of miles away but we cannot stop a disease that is causing so much grief and heartache in our own atmosphere?

I am not sure anything will ever come of our race we discussed. But I do know it showed us how much our children want to help their Dad.

I don’t know what the magic number is…. how much is enough money? How much is enough time? How many is enough victims?

Jim and Brad enjoying some ice cream after picking strawberries. May 2013

Jim and Brad enjoying some ice cream after picking strawberries. May 2013

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Great Ideas Come From Tiny Places”

  1. Lee Ann says:

    If you remember, I used to work as a nurse in long term care, working in the special care unit that was locked. I met and loved some wonderful people there. And I believe the research is so close. The cure could come from an accident in their research. I remember when they were trying to figure out how to get meds past the brain barrier. Then they realized, We can use a rabies vaccine that gets into the brain! Its so close. I can almost feel it coming. I really believe that.

    I have often thought about what it would be like to have that cure. Imagine going to work in a special care unit, a woman walks out of her room and sits down and says, “I feel like I had the strangest dream. Well, better go pack. I’m being discharged today and going back to the farm to live.” Can you imagine not just for people like your Jim that are at home now. But the doors opening on all of the units in long term care throughout the US? It could happen. An accident could happen and they’d find the cure. I believe it is close. I remember when HIV was so dangerous and killing so many people and the microbiologist teaching us in nursing school said, “Someday AIDS is going to be a chronic condition like diabetes.” And it is now. Keeping our fingers crossed.

    • Maureen says:

      Lee Ann I absolutely could feel your hope tonight. My hubby and I left his neurologist’s office, Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, last Thursday, filled with hope. Dr. Wisniewski’s Dad started Alzheimers research 30 years ago. His Mom was a Pediatric Neurologist. He works with a team of research scientists in a lab at NYU in New York day after day to break the code of Alzheimers. We are grateful. My husband is happy. We live everyday to the fullest. Alzheimers has taught us how to live! And we will continue to have hope. Thank you for your message!

  2. Michelle Fox says:

    Out of the mouths of babes, what a proud moment for you Karen. You have given such a gift to your children. That of compassion, love and caring for others. You do not learn that in a book. Whether it happens or not is in material, the thought and their excitement, working together as a family unit for a common goal. Awesome<3

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