The Ninth Annual Face to Face Walk for Memory: raising Alzheimer’s awareness and funds for education, resources and respite
By: Dr. Nestor H. Praderio
Photos by: Mary Ann Mondragon
“My name is Mary Lou Cano. I walk for memory. The disease does not define me, but it is personal. My mom, Dolores Cano, God rest her soul, died on Dec. 7, 2013, due to complications from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. I walk for the many who can’t. Currently, there is no cure, but I have faith that at the end of the walk, just around the corner, there will be a cure! And I know my mom walks with me. That is why I walk.”
Mary Lou Cano was a caregiver for her mother for six years. She is an active participant in the Face to Face Walk for Memory, and she continues to volunteer even after her mother’s passing.
Our Face to Face Ninth Annual Walk for Memory is set for Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Heritage Park. Come rain or shine, we will be there. Just ask the many dedicated individuals who walked last year despite the downpour. I was moved at the spirit of solidarity for Alzheimer’s awareness. The rain could not wash away the resolve to raise funds for respite and other support services.
Such undaunted determination yielded approximately $10,000 in funds to provide respite care services and community education on a local level. That, my friends, is the single most distinguishing characteristic of the Face to Face Walk for Memory event. All proceeds remain right here in the Coastal Bend to provide viable respite and resource options for local families.
The Walk for Memory promotes awareness and education about Alzheimer’s disease and provides respite support (in-home or short-term inpatient care), which allows family caregivers much-needed respite from their “24/7” caregiving. It also facilitates training and resource coordination for family members.
Another dedicated walker is Loyce Woods, who has been the primary caregiver for her mother, Roxie, for four years. Woods shared her reason for walking.
“I’m an athlete. I have played competitive tennis since I was 14 years old, and now I sometimes compete in senior leagues and tournaments. I know that I need to stay physically active as long as I possibly can, so I carefully budget my time to include stress-busting exercise.
“I’m a caregiver. My mother needs my help (time) in taking required daily medications, and she also needs me for getting her to and from social activities that benefit both of us. I look after her personal items and needs, go to doctors’ appointments with her and I help her with household chores, which she now finds too difficult and laborious to complete.
“My father is a valuable team member in our family dynamic. I find that at times, I need to help him with life issues, as well. As the commitments to my parents increase over time, how can I possibly reconcile these two seemingly diametrically opposed themes: good quality exercise and time-consuming caregiving? Here’s how:
“I’m a walker! My time is becoming more limited for competitive tennis, my first love. But I can always walk. In fact, I can find absolutely no excuses for not walking when I’m home. As an added bonus, my mother will walk, too, when she feels up to doing it. We walk on Saturday mornings on the Bayfront seawall – not very far, but some walking is better than no walking; a short distance is better than no distance at all.
“The two of us will participate in the Walk for Memory event together until she cannot do it anymore. After that, I will continue to walk – far – for her, for me and for all those who suffer the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And I’ll be calling on all fellow caregivers to join me!”
Raise awareness and funds for education, resources and respite by participating in the Face to Face Walk for Memory on Nov. 5. Join us for a 2-mile awareness walk featuring a resource fair, refreshments, entertainment, games and activities. Awards will be given to top individual, top team, top corporate team, youngest/oldest walker, best unique outfit, most spirited team and school spirit.
For more information about the upcoming Walk for Memory event or other events from Face to Face, call 361-238-7777, visit our website at www.texasfacetoface.com or follow us on www.facebook.com/texasfacetoface.