Because Babies Should Have Grandpas

Saturday is the Fifth Third River Bank Run. The 25k is the one local race that still remains on my bucket list. This was going to be my year to cross it off the list. More than the fact that I was ready, one of the charity partners is the Alzheimer’s Association of West Michigan. And, as you know, raising awareness and trying to fight this awful disease is near and dear to my heart. So, this race? This was my chance to tell my our story and do good while doing something that brings me peace and happiness and pride.

But then, something incredible happened. And Mr. B and I are going to be parents. In October. I’m 19, almost 20, weeks pregnant. (Still waiting for that “glow” to appear, though.) And, while I’m incredibly blessed to still be able to run while carrying Pickle, I realized during the half marathon a couple weeks ago that running long distances like that while pregnant is hard on my body.

Finish Line

Exhausted as I come up on the finish line during the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.

And I just couldn’t see myself happily — healthily — making it through 15.5 miles. So, with a heavy heart, I switched to the 10k.

But I didn’t quit.

I will be there. Shoes will be laced up. Bondi Band will be on. Mr. B will be on the sidelines. Because this run is important. And it’s so much bigger than this one pregnant gal carrying herself over 6.2 miles to cross the finish line.

This run is about babies. And parents. And siblings. It’s about family. And friends. And caregivers. It’s about loved ones. And people we’ve never met.

This run is about every single one of us.

Because Alzheimer’s Disease knows no strangers, and it knows no boundaries. And, not to scare you, but the situation isn’t getting any better as time goes on. That’s why fundraising runs like this one are so important. Because, one day, a woman — not yet 30 years old — will see a short text on her phone from her mom. A text confirming a diagnosis she so feared: “A.”

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

And she realizes that no matter what she does or how hard she fights, her dad is going to slowly forget who he is, forget who she is. And he’s going to become a shell of the person he once was. And her family will never, ever be the same. And it’s going to break her heart as everything she knew with 100 percent certainty fades into a world of gray. And she’ll have to stop thinking about the “what shoulda beens” and start thinking about the “what’s gonna bes.” Because all she can do is move forward.

To put it simply, Alzheimer’s Disease changes your life. Nothing is ever the same for the person diagnosed with this disease and for the people who love them. And, once you hear those words, “Alzheimer’s Disease,” there’s no going back — and going forward is hard. But all you can do is wake up every morning, smile and thank God for the moments you have together and get on with your day, taking it all one step at a time — together. ~”Running for a Cause

I quickly realized that I needed to talk about it. I needed to tell my story. Because that is how I fight. And unless I fight and raise awareness and raise money, so many other people are going to feel this pain. And sadness. And anger. And fear.

So many people are, like me, going to wonder whether their soon-to-be-born baby will ever get to know his/her grandpa the way he should be known — as the funnest Papa any kid could ever have (just ask all of my nieces and nephews — they’ll tell you). Luckily, and thankfully, Pickle will get to know his/her Papa. It will just be oh-so different than the picture I used to have in my head of my child playing with Papa in the orchard.

So, Saturday, when I head out on that course, I won’t be running for myself. I’ll be running for my dad. And for my mom. But, mostly, I’ll be running for Pickle.

Because babies deserve grandpas.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Because Babies Should Have Grandpas

  1. wendy warren

    “A” is for awesome, too! I love you!

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  2. Huge congrats! And good for you for being able to run while preggo – I could NOT do it (just wasn’t comfortable at all). The fifth third riverbank run is on my bucketlist too, though I’m hoping I can’t do it next year b/c I’m preggo again, too. My grandfather has Alzheimers so I understand your worries and applaud your help with advocating for understanding and research. I worry about my dad and me and now Baby Grouch getting the disease someday. Scary stuff.

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  3. Oh, Honey. I feel for you because I’ve been there. In the 10 years from her first stroke, my aunt/grandma lost who she was and who I was. It broke my heart that she couldn’t be at my wedding, even though she was still living. I wanted my kids to know her as I did. Now Mr’s grandmother has A and is slowly slipping away from her very large family. Prayers to you and best wishes on the race!

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  4. Pingback: Forget Me Not Days Plan Seeds of Hope | We Can Help

  5. Babies deserve Gpa! Agreed! So we continue the good fight. Alzheimer’s has a face …now it needs a cure! Good post!

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