So it’s been a while. Like a long time. So long a time that any of you that look at this blog regularly (if there are any of you that do that) may have been concerned that I was in a terrible accident that caused me to lose both my hands and that I am no longer able to type. Or maybe you thought I spilt a whole cup of coffee onto my computer and that it has been at the Apple store for the past month. But rest easy, I still have both hands and the tragic Coffee/Computer Debacle of 2014 (as I have named it) was a one time incident.
I don’t have a great reason why I have been M.I.A. for the past few weeks. I did, however, buy a new mattress pad that has kept me in my bed for close to 16 hours a day. Side note, mattress pads are kind of the most underrated product in the entire world. Invest in a good one guys, it will change your life.
But I’m back now. Shady’s back, tell a friend. And I’m writing this post about something very near and dear to my heart. When I write I am usually eager to arrive at a punchline that will make you smile, mostly because my self esteem is heavily reliant on other people’s positive opinions of me. But you’re not my therapist, and this post will be a little different. I hope you stick around long enough to hear me out.
If you are a Facebook friend of mine you may remember that last September I put out a link to a charity that I support. You may also not remember that. You’re probably not as invested in my life as I am. Hopefully you aren’t at least.
So here is a recap: Each September I participate in the Greater Boston Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I get up early on a Sunday morning (okay, relatively early for a college student) and I head over to Cambridge where I get to participate in one of the highlights of my fall. I don’t want this blog post to seem preachy or self-righteous. I am not going to pretend like I am the kind of person that travels to foreign countries to build houses in areas destroyed by natural disasters. I am just not that good a person. I don’t volunteer at YMCA’s or even recycle 100% of the time. (Don’t judge guys, I’m doing my best to recycle.) But every once in a while we are presented with opportunities to do great things for others. September is mine. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is my opportunity to do something great for other people. And I relish it.
One of my favorite people in the entire world, the wonderful Amy Poehler, gave a speech at the 2013 Power of Women event. I’ll put a link to it here. She speaks so eloquently when she says that being of service “selfishly makes you feel really good.” She also goes on to say that “it’s good for your skin and makes your ass smaller,” which are two things that I firmly believe. If you have the time or the inclination you should watch her whole speech. I literally cry watching it.
I walk each year for so many reasons. It would be a lie if I said it didn’t make me feel like a better person. On this one day, I feel like a better person than I am the other 364 days of the year. I also walk each year because this cause is absolutely amazing. I’m not exaggerating or being hyperbolic, guys. This cause is spectacular.
If you could picture, for just one moment, waking up one morning and not knowing where you are. You don’t recognize what is around you, and when someone comes to check on you, you don’t recognize them. They are a family member of yours who is charged with looking after you, because as you got older you could no longer support yourself. You don’t recognize them. You look around and are just terribly, terribly confused.
Now, I don’t want to pretend that I have any idea what it is like to suffer from this awful disease. I haven’t experienced it, and I don’t have family that suffer from it. But just imagine that that is you. And it could be. Alzheimer’s Disease is on the rise in this country. Today there are five million Americans living with this disease and these numbers will only increase. Alzheimer’s Disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined and this is just the beginning. Alzheimer’s Disease is the only disease in the top ten causes of death that can’t be stopped, slowed or prevented.
If these facts don’t worry you, maybe this will: By the year 2050, Alzheimer’s Disease will affect nearly 14 million Americans over the age of 65. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be 57 in 2050. It could be me and it could be you, or it could be your best friend from elementary school or your first boyfriend or girlfriend. That’s scary. And I’m scared. As a well-established scaredy-cat, it would be easy for me to do what I always do when I’m afraid: run and hide under my covers. But this cause is too worthy to ignore or dismiss. And it is way too worthy to run from. This year I won’t be running, I’ll be walking. (See what I did with that play-on-words?)
On September 27th this year, I’ll be participating in the Walk to End Azlheimer’s. If you’re in the area, and you like walking or hanging out with me, please sign up. But if you’re far away, or if you like sleeping in on Sundays (who doesn’t?), you can also make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is the leading voluntary health organization dedicated to curing this disease. I’m going to selfishly plug my own page below, because my team has set our fundraising goal even higher than last year’s. We are trying to raise $11,000. But you don’t need to donate to me or my team. Just go to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website. Learn more about this disease. Stand up and say that this cause is worth your time because, trust me, it is. Give to the cause. Walk with me.
Here is the link to my page, feel free to check it out, find a walk closer to wherever you live, or donate.
P.S. If you like Seth Rogen, C-SPAN, or Senate hearings, this is an amazing (and short) video where he is both hilariously funny and also so honest about this disease.