PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Thousands will walk in hopes of ending Alzheimer's disease this weekend, including some of us from FOX 29.
More than 5 million people in the United States alone live with Alzheimer's disease and over 200,000 of those people, like Phil Gutis are under the age of 65. Phil recently shared his daily challenges with us.
“Sometimes it's so hard to separate the disease from the mental process of knowing you have a fatal disease and knowing what’s coming it's so hard," he told FOX 29.
The statistics show how large the problem is but with most of us knowing someone dealing with this disease it's the personal stories that show how impactful Alzheimer’s disease is. Stories like the one Phil shared about a day at home with his husband.
“One morning, I came out of the bedroom and said hello to the cat. Went back in the bedroom and came out a few minutes later and said to 'Tim have you seen the cat?'"
Even facing such a difficult situation, Phil and Tim seem to have realized that they can either be consumed by it or try to stay positive as they do everything they can to defeat it. Tim says they have chosen the latter.
“I’m his caregiver and I’m his best friend so we’re in this together so here I am."
Part of their commitment to facing Alzheimer's is becoming outspoken advocates for the Alzheimer's Association and their annual Walk To End Alzheimer's events. As we walked the quiet area they now call home near new hope, Tim explained that of course this is a shock but trying to help is now their reality.
“Later years and our retirement, all that went out the door and we started planning how we’re going to deal with this disease.”
Sometimes exhausted Phil travels speaking at Alzheimer's events giving and receiving support from others in similar situations and as he prepares to share his story at this weekend's Philadelphia walk, accepting that he is now a voice for those who may not be able to speak out themselves.
“I think it becomes so all encompassing just living and just surviving day to day that they don’t have time to go out and talk about it and talk about the need for research and the need to find a cure.”
Every year the FOX 29 team is at the local walks with tens of thousands of strong advocates. We’ll walk and enjoy a day showing we know how important this fight is and we’ll think of Phil and others like him who in spite of their personal struggles continue to stand up.
“Together we are walking and working to end Alzheimer's together we will end Alzheimer's.”
And we’ll do it For Goodness Sake,