Daughter will ride for dad with Alzheimer'sBy GRETCHEN M. GROSKY
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 21. 2017 8:27PM
About the seriesSilver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday news report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire's aging population and seeking out solutions.
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When Kathryn “KC” Moran hops on her bike for a 30-mile ride along New Hampshire’s Seacoast Saturday, June 24, there will be two people on her mind — her father George who is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s and her mother Karen who has spent years caring for him.
The Amherst resident will be participating in the Ride to End Alzheimer’s, an annual event that raises money for and awareness about the sixth-leading killer in the United States. And while KC rides, her mother will be volunteering at the event.
“I do it to raise money, but I do it more to raise the awareness,” KC said. “It’s a small way of giving back in recognition of people like my parents.”
George was diagnosed at the age of 63 when KC was in her junior year of college. She said there were signs. He was forgetting certain things, but it was more than that.
“It’s pretty hard to explain but you just noticed little differences in him,” she said. “He was a little more muddled and he would just forget certain things and you could just see something different about him.”
For the next five years, Karen cared for George at home while working full-time, KC said. The disease hit hard and George eventually lost the ability to perform such everyday tasks as brushing his teeth. The family made the decision to move George into a dementia care facility in March.
“Over the past five years, I’ve watched how this disease has almost completely stripped him of everything I once knew. We get glimpses sometimes, rays of light, surrounded by laughs and jokes, that reminds us that a part of him is still there, buried by the disease,” KC said.
The family received support from the Alzheimer’s Association, and Karen and KC decided to get involved. Karen participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s while KC will be doing the Rye ride Saturday and a triathlon in August. KC expects to raise more than $2,600 between the participation in both events.
“The ride is an experience; joining together with so many people who are battling and caring for the same cause makes the event so much more fulfilling,” KC said.
This year, the ride is expected to draw 500 riders. Over the last 20 years, the ride has raised more than $4 million for Alzheimer’s research.
There will be a 100-mile ride, a 62-mile ride, a 30-mile ride and a family ride. For more information on how to register or donate, visit alzmass.org/RIDE.