This blog reports on two journeys that represent Hope for Alzheimer’s in different ways. The first journey was a 5,000 mile, year long hike of the American Discovery Trail. The public purpose at the time was to promote the virtues of kindness and community. The hidden purpose was to improve the mental health of my wife Cindy. That goal for Cindy was achieved, with tangible evidence that her mental health had improved over the course of the year.
The more recent journey was a five-month hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, the top item on Cindy’s bucket list once she officially was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Cindy’s early onset Alzheimer’s was advanced enough to make doctors stop claiming she was too young for the disease. No treatment yet has reversed advanced cases of Alzheimer’s; that remained true for our PCT journey. The different type of Hope in this case lies in the ability for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s to still pursue dreams and lead vibrant lives.
Moving forward, this blog will reflect back on both journeys as I prepare manuscripts about them. I will also report on our continuing efforts to make Cindy’s life vibrant with her advanced Alzheimer’s, as well as my efforts to maintain my mental health in the face of a family history with Alzheimer’s and the current stress of being a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
The common thread to providing Hope with both journeys was the physical exercise involved. If you are entertained or informed by this blog I encourage you to make a donation to The Exercise for Brain Health Research Fund. There is much to learn still about the how, how much, when, what and why regarding the value of exercise. The University of Maryland’s research team developed a new protocol for studying longitudinal cases such as Cindy’s. We would appreciate it if we could at least cover the costs of her testing through this fund.
Here’s to your brain health!