I began my visit to Duquesne just a few days ago. So far, it has been enjoyable, but very bittersweet at times. I have spent most of my time with family members, old friends, and with my Aunt Peggy.
The weather has been unusually dreary, with a light misty rain falling nearly every day. Truthfully, it feels more like “A Rainy Day in London Town” than in Duquesne, with temperatures in the 50 during the day an in the low 40’s at night.
I’ve been able to visit a few places to photograph, but again, the weather has prevented me from capturing the shots I had hoped for. I’m on the road back home tomorrow, so I might have to wait until I return in December to reshoot some areas.
I wrote in my last blog that my Aunt Peggy, age 87, had been diagnosed with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Although this was devastating news to the family, it was not surprising. Several years ago, Aunt Peg, along with two of her siblings, Aunt Helen and Uncle Joe, was tested to access her vulnerability to the disease. At that time it was determined that she, along with at least two other siblings, had already acquired the disease. None of them at the time of the tests were displaying any overt symptoms, but all began taking a medication that would slow down the onset of the disease.
It was less than a year after those tests that my Aunt Helen and Uncle Joe began presenting symptoms, and by the end of the second year following the tests, both had been taken to health
facilities that provided 24 hour care and treatment for the disease. Sadly, my Uncle Joe died shortly after beginning his stay at the home, and Aunt Helen died the following year, both from Alzheimer’s.
Aunt Peggy, had not revealed any signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the five years since Aunt Helen’s death. Then, less than 4 months ago, the symptoms began to appear. In the last month, the intensity of the problems increased dramatically to the point that an assisted living facility will now be required.
I was able to spend time with Aunt Peggy during my visit, but the issues of memory loss and confusion were VERY obvious. She had difficulty in remembering which state she was currently in, whose home she was staying at, and who some family members were when their name was brought up in conversation. It was heart-wrenching to say the least.
The fact that we/I can do nothing to stop the dreadful disease that this dear woman will now suffer through is incomprehensible. We can only hope that a form of treatment will be formulated to either eradicate or prevent the progression of the disease.
Ironically, prior to my visit to Duquesne this week, I signed-up to take part in a fund raising walk that will be taking place Saturday, October 26th in Salisbury, MD. The event is being held is the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Eastern Shore Walk. It is the first time I have participated in a walk, but one that is obviously near and dear to me due to my Aunt Peggy.
In what will soon be 3 years that I have been writing this post, I have never asked for any sort of contributions. However, since I have so many reasons to thank Aunt Peggy for her own memories as well as instilling the love of family and tradition in me, I am asking for you to consider making a pledge on Aunt Peggy’s behalf to the upcoming walk. My goal is to raise $100, however, I hope that the love and compassion that each of you have for the city you love will prompt you to help me well-exceed that goal.
If you are able to help, please do the following:
1. Click on the following link: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?team_id=187383&fr_id=3411&pg=team
2. You will connect to my team’s page. On the bottom left of the page, you will see a box contain my name – Jim Volk. Click on my name.
3. You will now be connected to my walk page. Click the green box on the right that reads $-DONATE TO MY WALK.
4. You will now be connected to the contribution page. You can choose your level of donation from the list provided or enter the amount wish. The rest of the form in self-explanatory.
5. To finalize your donation, just press COMPLETE DONATION at the end of the form.
I hope you will consider contributing to this walk. Since this blog is totally about the memories of our youth and the town we love, help to preserve those memories for everyone by helping to eliminate the disease that robs our seniors of those very recollections.
We love you Aunt Peggy!
My two favorite Aunt Peg stories -