Why I Walk…Melody’s Story

Melody Mulvaney is participating in the Mattoon/Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 25 in honor of her mother. When asked what the event means to her, she replied: “It means potentially putting an end to Alzheimer’s by raising funds for a cure. It’s also a great feeling coming together with so many people that are like family. Everyone has a different story but are all there for the same reason.” She has been involved with Walk for eight years.

Melody encourages others to join her in raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. She shared, “It truly is a horrible disease for the person living with it & for their family. They say Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye & I totally agree. You lose a little more of the person every day over time. As an Alzheimer’s daughter it is truly one of the hardest things that I’ve dealt with in my life. It robbed my mom of the things she enjoyed most in life! As a daughter/caregiver I felt completely helpless because I knew there was nothing I could do to make her better. I know that’s how [other] family members…feel as well.”

Melody’s mother lived with Alzheimer’s for about 10 years. Sadly, she passed away from the disease in June 2019. “I know in the beginning,” Melody said, “My mom was forgetting things but she still knew she was forgetting & it was very embarrassing for her. She thought everyone thought she was stupid. All we could do was try to reassure her that no one thought that. Do not argue with someone with dementia, it only makes them feel worse…Always remember, that’s the disease causing this, not your friend or loved one…They are still your friend or your loved one no matter what! We kept Mom at home as long as we could, but eventually, as hard as it was, we had to put her in a nursing home. She was on a regular Alzheimer’s floor & received very good care there.

“We were there with our Mom every step of the way. We never let her fight this battle alone….Her fight was our fight too!”

Melody and her two sisters visited their mother in her nursing home on a regular basis. They always went for holidays & their mother’s birthday. Melody was able to find support as a caregiver from her family and online community.

“Life with Alzheimer’s/dementia is a roller coaster ride, full of ups, downs, sideways & upside downs. If you are a caregiver, please get a support system. This disease is hard on the person that has it but also very hard for the family & the caregiver! Talk to someone,  have a backup so you can take a day away. I joined some Alzheimer’s support groups on Facebook & it helped a lot. As a plus I’ve made a lot of great friends (family really) through these pages. You just have to take it one day at a time & pray for the best!”

Join Melody in raising awareness and funds at Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. Find your Walk at alzheimers-illinois.org/walk.

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