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Thank you Alzheimer's Association... and Aunt Beth

Thank you Alzheimer's Association... and Aunt Beth

by Betsy Robertson, KING 5 Manager of Community Relations

KING5.com

Posted on June 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Updated Saturday, Jun 26 at 8:52 PM

I wanted to write a thank you note to the Alzheimer's Association for the 2010 Tasteful Evening Chef & Wine Dinner.
Held June 10th at Bell Harbor International Conference Center and emceed by KING 5's Brad Goode, the event is a coming together of several communities.  The families and loved ones of those touched by Alzheimer’s, 15 of Seattle's greatest chefs and more than one dozen Washington wineries.  
It was a delicious evening, a celebration, and I thought a wonderful example of what can happen when great heart and great talent come together.  I so enjoyed watching the chefs serve food side by side.  No sense of competition, only camaraderie. 
I want to thank each of them and the Alzheimer's Association for creating an atmosphere that made me appreciate my position at KING 5 just a little more.  I appreciate the opportunity to attend these kinds of functions and call it "work," and in this particular case be reminded that I have a personal connection to Alzheimer's as well.
 
Which brings me to another thank you, this time to my aunt Beth.
Beth lives in Sherman, TX and won't be known to anyone in the greater Seattle area apart from my immediate family.  But for years she and my cousins, Lindsay and Edward, were caregivers to my grandmother.
Allyne Robertson was never formally diagnosed, but died from what we all believe were complications from Alzheimer’s in 1997 at the age of 83. 
Living over 2,000 miles away, I didn't play much of a role in my grandmother's final years of life.  I was in my late teens/early 20's and flew to Dallas to see her just a handful of times during college.  Those visits were never easy, but the last one I'll never forget.  Allyne was in an assisted living facility by then.  I remember the room, her bed, her frail frame and beautiful silver hair.  And I remember that she was completely unresponsive to my presence there.
It is a painful memory and I try not to think of it often, but last night's event brought it back in a different light.   It made me think of the unexpressed appreciation I have for Beth, Lindsay and Edward and the time they gave to the end of her life. 
As one of the evening's speakers, Barry Peterson commented: it's not fair for a disease to claim two lives, but that's what Alzheimer's does.  It eats away at the person diagnosed and the person (in this case, people) who care for them.
Alzheimer's touched my entire family; my grandfather, their 6 children and 15 immediate grandchildren.  And that was just one case.  It's hard to imagine how many lives have been touched in all. 

In the spirit of camaraderie, there are ways to get involved. 
Go to the Alzheimer's Association of Western and Central Washington State to learn how.  http://www.alz.org/alzwa/
And put the Memory Walk on your calendar for this fall. 

You'll see the KING 5 team there.
 

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