By Carolyn Mastrangelo
The saddest part is that my story isn’t unique. Many who read this will have similar ones to tell. Noticing that my mom wasn’t quite right was a scary revelation. Realizing that it was happening at the age of 55 was terrifying. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend — roles that she taught me how to do well. She was an avid reader and trivia buff. She was a registered nurse at a nursing home for 22 years, a job she enjoyed tremendously. She has lived in one now for 5 years. She is almost 66 years old.
Having lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer, I knew there were many ways to donate — many ways to DO SOMETHING. As a runner, I found races that support breast cancer research. I looked for races to support my mom, but, for a disease that affects 35 million and continues to afflict another American every 70 seconds, I was shocked to find not one race benefitting Alzheimer’s.
The disease is devastating to watch; however there was nothing to do but watch.
As a personal trainer, I believe in change — that things can be different than they are now. I decided to change the lack of races. I reached out to my friend and fellow fitness enthusiast, Barbara Geiger, and asked if she would be interested in helping me put something together. A race was born.
The name of the race started with Melissa Etheridge’s song in reference to breast cancer, “I Run For Life.” A song I love, we looked at the lyrics to spark some ideas and found the line, “running for answers.” The second we read that line, we knew we had found a name for our race.
We lack answers. They are lacking in the research and they are lacking in our daily lives. How often did I hope that the answer to the question, “Mom, do you know who I am?” would produce the right answer — or even an answer.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is exactly the type of organization I was looking for. Their singular focus on research is what we need.
This experience is exciting. Daunting. Beyond rewarding. I’m not just watching my mom in a nursing home. We are doing something. It alone will not solve the problem, but it is a step in the right direction.
This race offers the opportunity for YOU to do something, too. Run. Walk. Donate. Sponsor.
Carolyn is one of the race organizers of “Running 4 Answers,” a 4-mile race and 1.5-mile walk to benefit Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. For more information on “Running 4 Answers,” visit http://www.running4answers.org