We all have our challenges. There shouldn’t be a competition over who has the fiercest challenges to live up to. Rather, it should be a challenge to us all as to how to help one another face our challenges. Together we are stronger than alone.
In my case, I live with a disability. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it. It is merely part of who I am. I handle it the best I can, and shine light on it only in hopes that any successes I achieve can serve as inspiration to other people with such afflictions.
As I often say, I can’t help being disabled. But I can show what a disabled person can accomplish.
My girlfriend and her family are aware that I am disabled. But they don’t treat me any different than any of the other significant others in the family. They accept me for who I am – which can be rare. They are a beautiful clan of people whom I love dearly.
Recently this extended family of mine has suffered a huge loss. My girlfriend’s mother Susan passed away this past year after a decimating battle with Alzheimer’s.
When I first started dating my beloved, her mother was basically fully functioning. The only signs of her affliction were occasional bouts of forgetfulness. However, after a fall that required hospitalization and related complications, her Alzheimer’s became apparent, and it progressed rapidly. It ended up stealing her from us quickly.
For those who are not familiar with the disease, Alzheimer’s causes a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Signs of the disease can range from forgetfulness to confusion over time or places. It can also manifest itself in a difficulty in understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
Alzheimer’s can often be identified by demonstrations of problems with speaking or writing words, frequent misplacing of things, decreased judgment, and changes in mood and personality. This can often lead to a withdrawal from work or social activities.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s, a doctor’s visit is encouraged for early detection. For valuable information see Alzheimer’s Association’s 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
This year, in honor of Susan’s memory, I will be walking in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In connection with this, I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association – the leading voluntary health organization for care, support, and research related to this disease.
It’s estimated that 50 million people live with dementia. In the United States alone, there are over 6 million cases of Alzheimer’s. Some names that have been impacted by the disease include Charlton Heston, Sean Connery, Sugar Ray Robinson, Norman Rockwell, Casey Kasem, Tony Bennett, and Robin Williams.
Together, though, we can make a difference.
If you can, I ask that you pledge a donation tied to my participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. No matter if it’s a few dollars, or a few dollars more, any help is appreciated. Every dollar counts.
To donate to my fundraising efforts please go to: http://act.alz.org/goto/RikkiLeeTravolta
I thank you for your support. I thank you for your caring. I thank you for your desire to make a difference. Together – we can do just that.
Peace. Love. Trust.
Rikki Lee Travolta
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