The Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County recently recognized six extraordinary caregivers at the annual Visionary Women Luncheon. While certainly not all caregivers are women, most are according to this enlightening and powerful presentation from the Orange County chapter, here on YouTube and also on the home page of their site. In fact, one remarkable honoree was a young caregiver, Myles Saunders of Newport Beach, who began looking after his mother when he was 6 and she was the victim of early onset Alzheimer’s at age 47.
Now Myles is 16 and continues to care for his mother while also raising money for and awareness of this terrible disease which affects so many lives. We have had many sad cases in our family, a father, a grandmother, an aunt — which makes us even more appreciative of the sacrifice and effort of this wonderful young man who has been forced to grow up too soon.
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s right now which means that at least that many families are severely affected by this tragic disease. Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States contracts it.
And that is why we salute not just Myles Saunders but all the dedicated and selfless caregivers honored at the ceremony — and all those unknown heroes whom they could not mention.
From the Digital Journal:
The 2014 Visionary Women Luncheon, hosted by Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County and presented by the Argyros Family Foundation, inspired hope in search of the organization’s vision: a world without Alzheimer’s. More than 300 supporters celebrated six Orange County caregivers for their dedication to improving the lives of those touched by Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia.
Actress Marion Ross, best known as Richie Cunningham’s mom on TV’s “Happy Days,” was the celebrity guest speaker at the signature event of the Visionary Women guild. The event also included an artists’ boutique, strolling fashion show, silent auction, al fresco luncheon and awards presentation – all set against the breathtaking and unique backdrop of Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado Canyon.
“In Orange County alone, more than 60,000 individuals voluntarily provide compassion and care to loved ones in need,” said Jim McAleer, CEO and President of Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County. “Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s poses real challenges and caregivers shouldn’t have to feel alone in their journey. That’s why this event is so vitally important – it is an opportunity to celebrate exemplary individuals and spotlight the tragic reality of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Please read the article to learn about the other honored caregivers and about how all participants are working together to help combat Alzheimer’s.