Join Me in Supporting the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Hi everyone,

Please join me in supporting the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s! My 77-year-old dad suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s.  This Saturday, September 27th, at 8 a.m., my friends and family will be walking for the cure at the Sparks Marina.

If you are not able to walk with us, feel free to donate and sponsor us along this journey.

Click here to view the page for the A team.

Henry Akao

Alzheimer’s doesn’t have a cure…yet. Every dollar you donate goes towards research to find a way to combat this incredibly sad disease that has slowly taken away a part of my father’s identity.

First it started with noticing more “senior moments” from Dad. Then came the neurologist visits and the brain scan that showed actual damage. In his day, my dad was a structural engineer. I attended an engineering college fair today and thought of him and the engineering seals he used to use that are now collecting dust in the garage alongside the blueprints we kept.

As the disease progressed, we noticed more changes. It was no longer advisable for him to drive, so now I drive the 98 Honda Accord he used to love to zip to work and back, all those long hours, day after day. Engineers take deadlines very seriously, and I think I inherited Dad’s Japanese work ethic.

Two years ago Dad landed in the ER with a severe cold, and that illness escalated into something the doctors couldn’t identify. He ended up in the ICU, under medications that made him agitated and addled to the point that we couldn’t understand what he was saying. My mom, sister, and I took turns sitting at his bedside. Unfortunately unfamiliar environments such as hospitals aggravated my dad’s Alzheimer’s and he was so restless that he had to be restrained. It was heartbreaking to have him ask us over an over to be untied, but all we could say was that we couldn’t because we didn’t want him to fall getting out of bed. Luckily, he remembers nothing from that ordeal. After some time in a nursing home to do physical therapy to regain his strength and steadiness, by some miracle Dad pulled through. Today, under my mom’s loving care taking, Dad is walking taller and stronger than ever.

In fact, he walks so well that last year, at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s he mistook the event for one of the marathons he used to run when my sister and I were little. He actually started jogging. Before I could get the words, “Dad, slow down,” out of my mouth, he fell forward. When a 2-year-old child falls in front of you, that’s one thing, but when a 77-year-old man falls, the consequences can be far worse. The paramedics examined him and thankfully he came away with a few scrapes and bruises.

Each year, at the walk, pinwheel flowers are handed out to the walkers. Each pinwheel color represents a different circumstance. Although there’s a color for “I suffer from Alzheimer’s,” Dad chose the color for “I support the cause.” Indeed he does. My dad always took good care of me, and so today, the least I can do is support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

I invite you to join the A team and support the cause with us!

With great appreciation,

Gina Akao

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