We need to "Move a Mountain" for Mary & Jack...and Chris. Jack was diagnosed with early onset Alzeimer's several years ago and has progressed quickly into the late stage 5 of 7 stages of the disease. Mary, who has continued to work her butt off (anyone who knows Mary knows her work ethic and drive), was faced with the only option.... quit her job to care for Jack. Mary was preemtive early on...sold their home to move to a smaller one closer to work, and most recently had to break the news to their son, Chris, that he would not be able to finish his education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Although Chris is thriving at VCU, he knew in his youthful wisdom that he needed to come home and finish at Towson to do what's necessary for his Dad.
Mary is not one to share any kind of negative news and always has a positive spin. Many may not even know that she has a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Her bones break VERY easily and other symptoms surface daily....a lifetime disease that she has battled with incredible bravery. One could argue that it's a miracle that she has thrived the way she has. Mary never complains. She pushes through to the next day making sure Jack and Chris have everything they need.
Our small tribe of girlfriends were together recently and we all witnessed Mary's seemingly unbreakable spirit crack. Her drive has been replaced with a kind of paralysis I believe is somewhat unique to Alzeimer's...unimaginable and impossible to plan for no matter what you do.
Everyone asks, "what can I do to help"...including me. In so many situations, money can't fix it. In this case, it sure as heck won't fix it, but it will allow Mary to breathe into the next phase of this tragedy. It will help pay for in-home care for Jack so that Mary can go to work.
We all need a little help now and again. Mary would NEVER ask for help, but we're doing it for her because we love her and know she would do the same for any of us.
We have not even begun to talk about the toll this has taken and will continue to take on Mary in terms of Jack's diagnosis. It will be very soon when Jack will ask her who she is. Who is Chris? He is already asking to go home, having sleepless nights, hallucinating etc.
Mary's spirit will prevail in the long run. But in the here and now, she is wondering how she can possibly hold down a job. How will she pay for full time care for Jack? Will Chris be able to get his college degree? The tricky element here is that Mary and Jack are young. They are still "working age" and not close to retirement or in a position to receive government assistance without draining what assets they do have.
Let's all rally together and help give our girl a chance to breathe. There is no amount of money that can change any of this, nor will there likely be enough to provide long term relief. We're just trying to (in Mary's famous words) Rip a Bandaid off! Thank you everyone...Please spread the word. "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another" - Charles Dickens
- Joseph Conroy
- Jessica Cloonan
- Jenny Burke
- Kelley Walll
- Pat & Craig schmidt