Last week Marcia and I went to a fundraiser for Autism in the town where we live, Branchburg, NJ. This was the first time in several months Marcia and I have been out socially outside of our kids sporting events. Marcia had a really nice time, and it was so nice to see her smile and enjoy herself. We didn’t stay very late, and Marcia was asleep minutes after we got home.
Longtime friends of ours, whose son Jack was diagnosed with autism 8 years ago, have been more than just good friends to us. Frankly, they have been mentors and an inspiration in how they’ve handled diversity and made fundraising to support autism their mission. We’ve seen Jack grow and make incredible strides in every way imaginable. Before dinner, Jack took the microphone and spoke to the group with such confidence. He did a fantastic job. You could see the joy in the faces of everyone who saw him speak. Jack’s mother, Shannon, highlighted in her comments how far Jack has come, how amazing his progress has been, and how proud they were of him.
As Shannon spoke, the differences between autism and Alzheimer’s hit me pretty hard. The numbers associated with both are staggering, and as Shannon said, “it takes a village” to raise a child with autism. Shannon told me three years ago after Marcia was diagnosed with AD, that while she knows it’s not our nature to ask for help, she told me “you have to get over that”. She couldn’t have been more “right”. It’s taken a village to help with Marcia too. Both Shannon and her husband Bryan were very gracious in their comments last night regarding the support they have received from family and the local community, and the importance of that support to Jack’s growth and development. Jack’s family has worked so hard, raised a LOT of money for at least two special needs schools, and have seen Jack respond. I’ve seen Marcia go the other direction. And I can’t do anything about it.
While there is little that can be done to help Marcia, I hope we can prevent others from going through this in generations to come. Last June was the first Branchburg Race Against Alzheimer’s 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. Branchburg and surrounding communities were so supportive of the race, and Marcia was the reason why. In addition to local support, we saw over six hundred people participate. Donations came in from twenty-two states and three countries, raising over $58,000 for Alzheimer’s Disease research!
The second Branchburg Race Against Alzheimer’s 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk, will take place on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Just like last year, the event will take place at White Oak Park in Branchburg and will include a 5K Race (3.1 miles) and a 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to support Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, an organization that uses 100% of the donations that it receives to fund Alzheimer’s Disease Research. Recently, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was recognized for being on Charity Navigator’s Top 10 List of Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.
Date: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Time: 9:00 am
Location: White Oak Park
Branchburg, New Jersey
Please visit the event website, www.branchburgraa.wix.com/bburgraceagainstalz. Please “like” and visit the event Facebook page: Branchburg Race Against Alzheimer’s. Thanks for supporting this great cause!
The changes I’ve seen in Marcia over that last year have been dramatic and heart breaking. Worrying about my kids keeps me up at night, and this disease has affected my work where my future is certainly not what I had hoped it would be at this stage of my career. But this fundraising event was a real highlight of the year last June and I’m hoping for another great turnout. Our hope is to raise more money for Alzheimer’s research, and raise awareness for this disease that is a crisis in the United States. We would love to see a great turnout for race day. If you cannot come in person, please consider a donation to help find a cause!