Alzheimer’s. It’s a word that holds an abundance of emotion for me. I am 25 years old. This word came into my life at a young age of 19. I had no idea the punch this word packed. I had no idea it could happen so close to home. I had no clue what was in store for my father, let alone for the rest of my family and I. It’s the kind of thing you hear about but never think it can happen to you. You’ve heard of it, you know little about the devastating impact and the toll it takes. I always thought of it as an “older persons disease.” In fact, I called it “old-timers” as a child. I watched as my grown father could no longer drive his car, or make himself a sandwich. He could slowly no longer be left alone. A grown man, who on the outside appeared fine. He went through many changes and phases. He was diagnosed at age 57. They said he showed signs of it developing 8-10 years prior. He passed at age 64, last October. This disease is more than someone losing their memory. Which, is something I always took for granted when I didn’t know what that meant. The person with Alzheimer’s loses most of their senses. All the ones we never think twice about having, let alone losing. People with Alzheimer’s are strong. They are fighters. They are our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents. Alzheimer’s takes from them the things we build our entire lives to keep. Throughout my teens and early 20s, I would have never thought to get involved in something like this. But because it happened to my father so early, I am grateful I can share his story. He would have wanted me and all other young people to get our voices out there. To raise awareness and take a stand to end it.