KATHY LEROY’S FAMILY SHARES WHY THEY WALK
Her daughter, Andy – “We were shocked when our recently ‘forgetful’ mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 50. I was 24 years old, but my brother Tyler was only 13. How could this be? To say that she has been cheated of many years is an understatement. Watching her the past 8 years has been devastating. My father put his life on hold caring for her – his patience, humor and positivity was the best possible way she could spend her years. There is a special place in heaven for Alzheimer’s caregivers. I can’t thank him enough for everything he did for her – ‘through sickness and in health’ takes on a whole new meaning with this disease. Currently in hospice, we’ve had to say our goodbyes and watch her fade away – just waiting for “the call” – it weighs on you.
My mother was a nurse, she worked on ambulances and in urgent care centers helping others. She was the light in a room with her contagious smile, a kind and positive friend to others. She loved to travel and planned fun adventures for us through the years. Our mom stood on the sidelines with orange slice smiles at our soccer and baseball games. She loved music and would sing and dance in the kitchen while making family dinners. Up until recently, she couldn’t remember her name but was still able to sing most of the words to ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’. I pray that we find a cure for this disease – we are walking for Kathy Leroy, a beautiful person being taken from us too soon.”
Kathy’s husband, Jeff – “Reading a book or going to a group, kind words from friends and family are your support network, but day in and day out it’s still so much to bear witness to. We can’t understand what’s coming or the changes that are going to happen to my wife, who she is going to become. One thing I can guarantee is, you learn how to cry. You have to learn to separate Alzheimer’s from your life. As her caretaker for 8 years, it’s been hard to retain my identity, my life, dreams and passions. Alzheimer’s can consume everything in its path. Love is your only defense and your offense.”
Kathy’s son, Tyler – “It’s been incredibly difficult to see my mom fade in these final stages. She had been an active person and a truly spectacular mom. She has done so many awesome things in her life, from climbing Half Dome at Yosemite, to diving in the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas, raising a family, being a nurse; I could go on and on about her accomplishments. It’s been hard to watch the woman who just wanted to sit by the pool and drink a beer being unable to walk, talk or feed herself. She won’t get to appreciate her first grandchild being born, and it stinks. It’s had a lasting impact on our family, and in her memory we walk.”