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WGN-TV Ray Cortopassi Journey of Love and Memories Navigating Alzheimer’s with Family

As long as I can remember, my life has been intertwined with stories. From listening to them, watching them unfold, to finally becoming a storyteller myself, my journey has been a tapestry of experiences. I began my career as a freelance reporter for a suburban Chicago newspaper in 1990, post-college, eventually finding my way to the esteemed City News Bureau of Chicago and later into television reporting and anchoring roles across various cities.


My passion for storytelling and connecting with people led me through the highs and lows of life, but the true test came when my mom succumbed to complications from breast cancer. In the face of loss, my father, Ted, became an integral part of my life. We invited him to live with us, and as time unfolded, it became clear that he needed more support due to a diagnosis of dementia. His journey with the disease was marked by withdrawn behavior, persistent fatigue, and alarming mini-strokes that demanded immediate medical attention.

Amidst the challenges, I found solace and strength in the Alzheimer’s Association. This community of compassionate individuals united by a common goal of providing the best care for their loved ones became a beacon of support. I readily accepted the opportunity to be an emcee at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s celebration, moved by the impact the disease had on patients and their families. The experience was not only eye-opening but also deeply inspiring.

Fast forward to today, and my personal connection with Alzheimer’s has taken on a new dimension. My wife Leslie’s mother, Sarah, at 84 (though she enjoys keeping her age a delightful secret), is navigating through stage four dementia. Acute short-term memory loss and familiar traits associated with Alzheimer’s mark her journey. Despite the challenges, her loving spark remains intact, even if the ability to form new memories has slipped away.

My mission now is clear – to shower Sarah with the love and care she has always bestowed upon her family. It’s a journey filled with both heartache and moments of profound connection. Through it all, the Alzheimer’s Association continues to be a pillar of support, backed by the dedication of numerous organizations and companies committed to funding their mission.

As I traverse this path, I am grateful for the resources and research focused on finding a cure. Each step, each story shared, becomes a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love in the face of adversity. Together, we press on, weaving a narrative of hope and determination in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Join Ray Cortopassi as he emcee the 2024 Power of Purple: A Reason to Hope Luncheon, on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. at the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL CHICAGO, located at 120 E Delaware Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Click here for details

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