It has been more than a year since my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This afternoon, my team is embarking on three hours of indoor cycling in her honor, and in honor of those they love.
My grandmother is a woman who has been through more than any one person should have to endure in a lifetime. She survived her husband’s death after caring for him during his ten-year battle with cancer; she has survived the deaths of her children and grandchildren. Her trials are truly too numerous for me to list.
Her strength CARRIED me to the hardest obstacle I have ever faced, and she was strong for me when I couldn’t be. She was the person who walked me, what seemed like miles, from a hospital waiting room to the critical care unit my father was in when doctors told me that it was time to let him go. She physically and emotionally held me up the entire way.
Thinking about it now, I can’t recall if I ever thanked her for that. Today, that is exactly what I’m doing. Thanking her the only way I know how.
After having participated in last year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I decided that a great way to raise money would be to host a Spin-A-Thon. As I began to research how to pull this off, I was elated to discover that THERE IS A WHOLE DAY dedicated to this type of event! This is how I discovered The Longest Day … completely by accident. ‘Serendipitous’ is the only word I use to describe it.
I was even more determined to make this day happen after I began to speak with people about their interest in participating. I was blown away to hear just how many people were being directly affected by this disease. I am almost certain that EVERY person on my team has a story to tell.
Beginning at 1 p.m., we will be spinning through the decades in honor of those we love.
We will start with an ‘80s soundtrack for the first hour. Next we move into the ‘90s, finishing strong with today’s top 40. This progression is significant to me – cycling through the decades, spinning to music that elicits childhood memories, first loves and first heartbreaks.
I am reminded of a documentary I watched a few years ago called “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory” where social worker Dan Cohen works to advocate the use of music therapy for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Throughout the film, the astounding effect that music can have is clear; it was nothing short of incredible. Today I am using cycling and music to help thank my grandmother for all of those times she carried me.
I will still be thanking her long after my name is erased from her memory. Now it’s my turn to carry her.
Today we are doing what we love for who we love. Today we remember those we said we would never forget.
About Leann: “I am fighting to end Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day because I want to help others from having to live through this disease. After a lifetime of putting together the puzzle of life, Alzheimer’s pulls it apart piece by piece.” Leann Moore is cycling through the decades in honor of her beloved grandmother. Click to here to visit Leann’s team page.