November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, which is particularly meaningful to me this year.
Alzheimer’s is a difficult thing.
But I never knew just how difficult until I began researching for my next Heartwarming release, A Song for Rory.
In this second novel of my Findlay Roads series, Sawyer Landry is just reaching the peak of his country music career as winner of a prestigious award. The only thing missing from his life is Rory Callahan, the girl he left behind when fame came calling. But when he returns to his hometown to win Rory back, he learns that his father has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s – a much rarer (and genetic) form of the disease.
Early onset Alzheimer’s affects only about 5% of the population but can begin as early as one’s thirties. Because it is hereditary, patients likely inherited it from a parent or grandparent. Like the more common form of Alzheimer’s, the disease steals gradually and with devastating effect.
Victims lose track of time – not only hours but years. It might be July, and an Alzheimer’s patient will be convinced it is Christmas…ten years earlier.
As the disease progresses, it is common to forget things that you once took for granted – how to tie a shoelace, turn on the television, make a phone call, or follow a recipe.
A victim of Alzheimer’s might lose their place in conversation, forget where they are or how they got there, or be unable to recall someone’s name, even if they’ve known them for years.
And to me, the worst part is that eventually, Alzheimer’s steals memories of loved ones and eventually, the ability to recognize them. It eats away at a person’s identity until they no longer know themselves or the people they love.
While this disease is devastating at any age, it is particularly challenging for those who develop the symptoms before the age of 65, which is when early onset begins. Fathers face the possibility of never walking their daughters down the aisle. Wives realize they may only have a handful of anniversaries left with their spouse. Children face the stark reality of losing their parents before they’ve even reached their teenage years.
So Sawyer faces a tough decision in A Song for Rory. Knowing he might inherit early onset Alzheimer’s from his father, he and Rory reach a crossroads where they have to determine whether their love can withstand the possibility of this life-shattering disease.
Because I’ve been so moved by the personal stories I read while researching this book, I’ll be donating a portion of all proceeds to Alzheimer’s charities. If you’d also like to donate, especially during the month of November, visit the National Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org
You can pre-order A Song for Rory on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle, Barnes & Noble in paperback or for Nook, or at Harlequin.com in paperback or eBook.
If you have a personal story to share about Alzheimer's, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
Be sure to check in next month, on December 9 when my blog partner, Loree, is back, and we share another edition of We Talk to Ourselves…A Lot!
CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. A Song for Rory, Book #2 in her Findlay Roads series, releases in March 2017.