Help me do my part to support people affected by Alzheimer’s & dementia and their caregivers!
A year ago I lost one of the most inspiring women that has ever been put on this earth, my Grandmother, Toby Kleinman. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a comedian, a dancer, and a Holocaust survivor. She was the strongest, most loving woman I have ever met, the quintessential Jewish Grandmother.She didn’t say “Hello”, she said “Come in, have you eaten? Are you hungry, what can I get you?”. She loved baking and dancing, telling jokes, and chocolate (she really, really loved chocolate). Even with her difficult past, she made sure everyone was always happy around her.
It started off subtly.She began forgetting little things, like which side of the knife blade was the right side to cut with, or to turn off the stove when she was done. Soon it graduated to relative’s names. I remember how excited she would get to see me when I first came in to visit her, then again how excited she was when I came back from the bathroom as if she hadn’t already seen me…and then again after I grabbed her water from the other room. It was hard to watch, but I thought “at least she’s happy to see me”.
As more time went on, that happiness to see me started to fade. She knew I belonged to her in some sense, but not who I was. Her speech deteriorated and I could only speak to her in sounds – I knew she understood me, and that even though I wasn’t saying anything but a silly noise she got it because I would always get an occasional smile, a smile that reminded me of who she always was to me, not what she had become.
Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, not only for the patient but for the family as well.I watched my Grandma lose her memory and go through periods of time where the only thing she could remember was the torture she went through in the concentration camps.It broke my heart to see her hurt, and it hurt even more to know that there was nothing I could do to fix it.
My grandmother always pushed herself to be a better person and to better her life. Now that has inspired me to do something this year that I normally wouldn't do... run a half marathon for her. I want to help with the fight against Alzheimer's and help provide care to those who have it, and to those who are affected by a loved one who is suffering.
Both of my grandparents were survivors of the Holocaust and even through all of that, my grandfather still swears the hardest thing he’s had to cope with in life is watching the love of his life’s health and mind decline from Alzheimer’s. No one should feel that pain. I wish I had known more about it to help her, and I wish I knew more about how to cope with this terrible disease to help myself, and my family.
My goal is to raise at least $1,500 for Caring Kind, a New York based charity that helps provide Alzheimer services to patients and their families to help them better cope during this painful process.I would like to give as much help as I can to those in need, in memory of the most inspiring woman I know, and I will use her inspiration to help me through this training period. Any donations are greatly appreciated and go to an amazing cause.