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06/14/16   

Welcome to the next installment in our “Who Gives a Chip?” series, which celebrates the everyday heroes in our community.  Their passion, and commitment to ‘giving a chip,’ inspires us, and we hope it will do the same for you.

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and our friends at The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter are working hard to get the message out about this disease.  The Alzheimer’s Association works “to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

It can be hard to understand how Alzheimer’s disease really affects a person.  We’re proud to feature Celeste Sisk, a 2016 Women’s Champion for the Alzheimer’s Association, in this month’s “Who Gives a Chip?” article.  Celeste hopes that sharing her experience will help our readers to better understand what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s.  Read Celeste’s story below!

I am Celeste Sisk and I am 51 years old.  I was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in April of 2015. 

Prior to my diagnosis I knew something was wrong with my memory and my words would come out wrong.  At first it was funny and my family and I would laugh.  We all thought it was menopause, so I didn’t worry, but it was interfering with conversation and my writing ability.  My best friend and I went to a movie, “Still Alice” about a 50-year-old woman who had Early Onset Alzheimer’s.  Alice portrayed exactly what I was experiencing and I said to my friend, “That’s me!!”  I went to the neurologist and was soon diagnosed. 

There are so few people my age that have this disease that even close members of my family don’t believe that I have it because it is “an invisible disease”.  Besides the inability to remember words in order to communicate, thoughts come into my mind and then they’re gone before I can speak them. It feels like someone is stealing something of mine that is valuable.  I am very grateful that I have no pain; I have my sight and hearing.  Many people have chronic pain and are blind and crippled.  I am grateful that I am alive. 

To those who have Alzheimer’s disease, stay positive; don’t be ashamed, you didn’t do anything to cause this.  To those who don’t have this disease, be patient with us.  Thank you for all the support groups and programs that help us and our caregivers.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter, and to get involved, please visit http://www.alz.org/ct/.

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