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Alzheimer’s steals opportunity for “fatherhood” conversations with dad

It’s hard to imagine what it must be like for my father, Dennis, to lose the ability to communicate and connect with the people he loves. He would talk to anybody, he had a great sense of humor and was someone people went to for advice and guidance. I have two kids, but because Alzheimer’s has taken away my dad’s ability to talk, I have never had a chance to have a real father-to-father conversation with him. Without his verbal guidance, however, the lessons he instilled in me as a boy continue to guide me in my life. He taught me the importance of hard work, compassion, and honesty, and those lessons have stayed with me even as his memory has faded. I’m grateful for the time I had with him and the memories we made together. It has been a difficult and trying period since his diagnosis for my family, especially for my mom, who was my dad’s primary caregiver for more than 10 years. When he moved into long-term care in August of 2020, the pandemic removed our ability to be with him in person. Visits had to be done through a double-paned window, year-round and in all kinds of weather. Despite this, my mom has remained a constant presence in his life. She has been an incredible source of strength and support for my dad, sacrificing so much to ensure that he receives the care and attention he needs. He is always happiest when she’s nearby. As someone who has been so personally impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, I know firsthand the devastating effects it can have on individuals and their families. That’s why I have decided to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day program, which raises funds and awareness for a cure for Alzheimer’s. I am proud to say that through our Longest Day events called the “DEW 5000”, we have directly raised over $13,000 in honor of my dad and all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The Longest Day typically falls on or around Father’s Day, which always makes it special for me. In fact, the first time I saw my dad in person after moving into long-term care during the pandemic was on the Longest Day, on Father’s Day in 2021. I will never forget his response after telling him how much we raised – “You did all that??” with a big smile. I could sense his pride. I have used social media to engage with my network and encourage them to share my posts and my fundraiser with their own followers. This helped to exponentially increase the reach of my campaign and ultimately led to more donations. It’s been an incredible show of support from our family, friends, and community, and I am grateful for every donation. But our work is not done yet. We still have a long way to go in the fight against Alzheimer’s, and I hope you will consider contributing to our cause. Any amount big or small will make a difference and help us get a step closer to finding a cure for this devastating disease. Thank you for your generosity and support. We will find a cure, together. – Nate Wicks To register for The Longest Day go to:



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Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter

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