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Early Onset Alzheimer's Attacks 40, 50 Year-Olds; Community Walking to End It
DAYTON -- A simple task like brushing your teeth becomes confusing, and you're unsure of what to do. Add in the fact that you are only in your 40s or 50s. Alzheimer's disease doesn't just attack older people, younger minds are at risk, too.
Mother-daughter friendships don't get much stronger than this: For Lisa and Danielle Begley it's one step at a time because the man they love most is struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer's.
"Probably the hardest thing is just seeing how his personality is different. So I was saying how he was very outgoing and funny, it's changed," said Danielle Begley.
"He knew there was something, that he wasn't thinking clearly. Every time we would get into an argument about whatever it was, he would say I just can't really think straight," Lisa Begley explains.
Three years and dozens of doctors' appointments later, Randy Begley got his Alzheimer's diagnosis. He was 58.
"That's the hard thing... it takes so long, and once you get it, there's really nothing," said Lisa, referring to the fact that there's no cure or means to slow the disease's progression; but in 10 years, scientists hope to have some answers.
"Ten years from now, that's a long time... it helps for them but maybe not for Randy."
So Lisa and Danielle are Walking to End Alzheimer's. The money raised goes toward programs to help families dealing with it -- and for research to find a cure.
"I just want him to know I love him no matter what and I'll always be there," said Danielle who is 27.
"He knows how hard it is on everyone and he knows I'd cut off my right arm, and I'm right-handed, to do something for him. I just hope there's something that comes before it's too late for him," said Lisa.
Age remains the biggest risk factor. Of the more than 5 million Americans who have it, about 200,000 are considered "early onset" in their 40s and 50s.
To stop this epidemic, people are walking to end Alzheimer's. You can join your neighbors in a city near you, sign up today!
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