YOUR VIEWS | The Mom Behind the Mask

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To the editor:

Hidden behind the mask my mom is wearing are all the years shes seen. Hidden are the years of becoming an expert seamstress, carefully sewing clothes and quilts and my sisters wedding dresses. Hidden are the years of working at her full-time, very taxing job while raising six kids. Hidden are the 50-plus years of marriage to my dad. Hidden are multiple trips to the emergency room that she took with her kids. Hidden are the stuff and happenings of 83 years of life: The Christmases, the driving tests, the sporting event attendances the very things that make my mom my mom all hidden behind the hideous mask of Alzheimers disease.

Nationally, an estimated 5.1 million Americans are living with Alzheimers and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States today. And with 78 million baby boomers approaching the age of greatest risk for this fatal disease, the need to find a cure is more urgent than ever.

For my mom, Alzheimers has meant a loss of memory, partial loss of chewing, swallowing and voice and speech functions, falls, confusion and unexplained bouts of irritability and pneumonia. And it will only get worse. Shes a real special woman who didnt deserve to spend her last years involuntarily imprisoned behind this mask. Just like every other Alzheimers victim.

On October 17, you can help in the solution of this grotesque disease by participating in the Alzheimers Association Memory Walk in D.C. Sign up to walk or sponsor a walker. Just like polio, measles and small pox, a cure will be found. You can help speed up that discovery so future moms wont be forced to wear this mask.

Pete Raack
Alexandria

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