I Never Forget to Remember

Me and Dadby Melissa Belgrave

Remembering Alzheimer’s has never been hard for me. When my father was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, my family and I watched as things got harder and harder for him to remember.  I remember his frustration. When my mom struggled with decisions regarding his health, skilled nursing needs, and general mood, I remember her tears. When we sat in his bed around his hospice vigil until he peacefully passed away at the young age of 62, I will never forget that.

But getting wrapped up in our own world, living from one task to the next, we forget. We forget it’s a growing concern.  We forget Alzheimer’s is no longer rare. How quickly we (choose to?) forget that.  That’s why I’m participating in The Longest Day. As it falls on Father’s Day this year, I cannot forget my dad or the disease that took him from us. I cannot forget the times he comforted me, and the juxtaposition of having to do that for him in his last days. I can’t forget that for as long as he was my caregiver, my mother, brother, and I gradually became his. I can’t forget there is no known prevention, treatment, or cure for this thief of memories.

So, this year, we will be honoring our fathers and all those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. And who better to participate and stand for this cause with than many of the players from San Francisco RivALZ Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football teams. We came together in our inaugural season a few years ago, and just as the game record is tied 1-1, we are united together in challenging ourselves and our communities to remember this disease and finding ways to fundraise so we can beat it. I have made lifelong friends through RivALZ, playing football, learning plays, encouraging each other, and mainly, remembering.

Playing FootballFather’s Day is often hard for me, even 4 years after my father’s passing. Often I don’t even leave my house. This year, I chose to be strong.  I choose to fight. Through camaraderie and a day of fun football events, we will be choosing to remember.

On The Longest Day, June 21st, players from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes vs. Brunettes Women’s Flag Football League will gather with friends and family at the Marina Green in San Francisco to honor those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. They will pay special tribute on father’s day to their fathers and grandfathers who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or who have already lost their battle by playing flag football from sunrise to sunset to bring awareness and ultimately tackle Alzheimer’s. Join them for a football game to remember from 6am – 5pm at Marina Blvd. and Yacht Road, contact BvBsf@alz.org for details.

DONATE to Melissa and her team at  http://act.alz.org/goto/ bvbSF_RivALZ_TLD

RivALZ Blondes vs. Brunettes is a volunteer event driven by young women that brings the passion and spirit of young community leaders together to support the Alzheimer’s Association. The event is an organized flag football game in which the two participating teams are divided based on the age-old rivalry between blondes and brunettes (Note: Redheads are “free agents,” permitted to play for the team of their choice). Funds raised at Blondes vs. Brunettes events benefit the care, support, advocacy and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Learn more at http://act.alz.org/BvBSF15