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Daughter, Granddaughter and Walk Champion, Shelbi Vidmar Shares Why She Walk to End Alzheimer’

How did I get involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s? I first got involved in the walk when my grandfather (Dick Briel) my mom’s father was diagnosed and passed away in 2007 from Alzheimer’s. I really got involved when my mom was diagnosed in 2018. I was living in California and got a call that my mom was slipping and starting to be very forgetful. I packed up and moved in with my mom and my stepdad so I could help in whatever way. My mom has Early onset Alzheimer’s and was only 57 when she was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I called the Alzheimer’s Association frequently to talk to someone who knew what I was going through and to ask questions, I got advice on joining a support group in my area and then I decided to join the Alzheimer’s Walk committee. It has been so amazing having the Alzheimer’s Association in my back pocket when I need to talk, get advice, or ask a question. My Committee has my back and has been a great sounding board. The committee head for the Dupage Walk Alison McEwen met me for coffee and we found out that both of our stories were very similar about our parents.

How has Alzheimer’s disease impacted your life?

It’s hard to put into words how much this disease has impacted me. A few words to describe my mom are Role Model, Amazing Business Women, Great Friend to all, my rock, and my best friend. My mom was diagnosed when she was at her prime and only 57. It’s just way too young and it is affecting people younger and younger every day. I did have the privilege of being my mom’s caregiver for close to 4 years. It was some of the hardest and best times that I have ever had. The hardest day was by far August 1, 2022 when we had to place my mom in a memory care facility. It was getting dangerous for her and we knew it was the best thing to do. My mom is currently living her best life in memory care in Aurora, IL we get to visit her as much as we would like and she lights up when she sees us. She still remembers the close family and it’s amazing to see her eyes look up into yours.

Why should others raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease? I think it is extremely important that we bring awareness because this disease is taking too many people too fast. Many people think it’s just an old person’s disease and that they are going to die anyway but that is not the case. It is heartbreaking for the person and the family members to watch their loved ones forget you, and everything around you. It’s so hard to watch them be confused and flustered. I do my part to speak up about it and raise awareness. This year I worked really hard with a Bowling fundraiser where the proceeds went to my Walk page. I was able to raise $2,000 just from the fundraiser and have one more in August. I work hard to advocate for my mom and for this disease. People need to know Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Alzheimer’s also affects Women more than it does men.

Is there anything additional you would like to share to raise awareness? I just want to add that it was really hard when I was being my mom’s caregiver. I worked part-time and took shifts with my stepdad, we worked well as a team. My mom’s name is Sue Vidmar and my name is Shelbi Vidmar my stepdad is John Postlewaite. I just want people to help with raising money because we need to find a cure for this disease. We need survivors. My mom is currently 62 and is for the most part doing well. She is in a wheelchair now but can take a few steps on her own. She loves visitors, treats, and being with her family and friends.

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