An Ambassador’s Story About Her Mom, Peggy – Early Onset Alzheimer’s

My daughter, Delaney and I joined the Alzheimer’s Association viewing of the movie “Still Alice” last night.  PLEASE go see this movie!  My family lived this story.  My beautiful loving mother, Marguerite “Peggy” Hertz was 60, had her Master’s Degree in PE, and was teaching at the college level when she went missing for 2 days in 1990. She finally called to tell me she did not know where she was….I asked her to give the phone to anyone standing around her.  She was at a gas station 1 mile from the home we had lived in for over 20 years.  This was the end of our family’s jokes about “howPeggy spacey and silly mom is” to an immediate realization and professional diagnosis that we were losing our mom forever.  Even though she looked the same, 10 to 15 years younger than her age, and was so physically healthy; our mom was gone, long long before her 17-year demise, and eventual death from Alzheimer’s.  My mother forgot dates, places, people and family.  She forgot her own face as she referred to the reflection in the mirror as “that woman.”  She forgot how to dress, bath, and brush her teeth.  She forgot how to talk, walk, and move.  She forgot how to chew and swallow.  The final years of her life were in a vegetative state, and as my sisters and I sat together at her bedside in April 2007, my mother forgot how to breathe and how to make her heart beat.  This could be my children’s story.  This could be your story. Please help to wipe out Alzheimer’s.

PLEASE if you know me or anyone who has been touched by this devastating disease please reach out and support the Alzheimer’s Association with your contribution and/or time.  www.alz.org   At the very least, PLEASE share my story.  Thank you.

~ Tammy Vanek speaking about her mom, Peggy. 

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